The Los Angeles Dodgers made waves earlier this week when it was reported they were close to signing Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena for close to $25 million. Arruebarruena is a 23-year-old shortstop who was teammates with fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig and played for the Cuban team in the WBC.
While scouts rave about his glove, comparing him to defensive wizards Jose Iglesias and Adeiny Hechavarria, many question if he’ll be able to hit at the big league level. Talking to ESPN Radio 710, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti talked about the young shortstop and what it could mean for incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez:
I have not seen him. Our international people have seen him. Some of our MLB scouts went down to the DR and saw him in a workout in the winter time. We think this kid has a chance to be an excellent fielder, shortstop and probably play third. As time goes on with Hanley, we’d love to keep Hanley here and he’s talked about it with us is a move to third base will be in the future in some time. We have some hurdles to cross to with the kid from Cuba. If we can get him signed, we think defensively he’ll be a cut above the rest.
Ramirez is entering the final year of his contract and throughout the off-season stated he wanted to be a ‘Dodger for Life’. With limited range up the middle, a move to third base seems inevitable for the 29-year-old shortstop. However, the Dodgers also have Corey Seager, a top prospect in their system who’s likely to make the switch from shortstop to third base once he reaches the big leagues.
Arruebarruena is likely to start at Double A and the Dodgers have to focus on locking up Ramirez long-term before he hits the open market. With Juan Uribe signed for the next two years, Arruebarruena and Seager in the system along with Ramirez, the Dodgers will have some interesting decisions to make with the left side of the infield.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Update