After a deal was reported over a week ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not yet officially signed Cuban shortstop Eribel Arruebarruena to a contract.
It was said that the Dodgers reached an agreement with the 23-year-old, but nothing else has been reported since then. Arruebarruena was signed after team president Stan Kasten mentioned that a new player would be joining the Dodgers’ clubhouse in the spring.
According to Jesse Sanchez fo MLB.com, some new details have emerged on the status of the slick-fielding shortstop:
According to industry sources, the 23-year old has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and was cleared by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to enter into a contract with a Major League club after he established residency in Haiti.
Sanchez also added that Arruebarruena is currently working out in the Dominican Republic as he waits for a work visa that would allow him to enter the United States. The deal is expected to be worth $25 million for either five or six years. Once he’s given his visa, the 23-year-old will join the team at Camelback Ranch for the rest of spring training and will compete for a spot on the major league roster. He’s pegged as a solid defensive player up the middle, but has struggled at the plate.
Arruebarruena is a natural shortstop that can play second base, unlike fellow Cuban and Dodger Alex Guerrero, who had never played second base in his career. Guerrero signed a four-year, $28 million deal in October to be the team’s primary second baseman; however, injuries in the winter slowed his development at the new position.
It isn’t known where Arruebarruena figures to start his big league career, but it’s likely at High A with Rancho Cucamonga or Double A Chattanooga. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti discussed earlier this week how important signing Yasiel Puig was in the grand scheme of international signings and Arruebarruena is the latest example.
UPDATE, February 21: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has the details of the contract:
Arruebarrena’s deal with #Dodgers: 5 yrs, $25M. Includes $7.5M signing bonus.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 22, 2014
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