Three weeks have passed since the Los Angeles Dodgers officially signed Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena. The deal is for five years and $25 million and he many were intrigued with his signing after Stan Kasten left the media in the dark. While there’s been controversy about how to actually spell his name, Arruebarrena is still not in the United States nor with the Dodgers.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t have an update about when we’d be seeing him in camp or the US via Dodgers Nation:
Don Mattingly had no update about Erisbel Arruebarrena and his visa issues.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) March 10, 2014
Visa issues may be the best way to put it. An internationally recognized athlete, the category which Arruebarrena and many other overseas players fall into, is elligible for a P-1 visa. Similar to most other visas, this certificate can take an extremely long time to obtain. The Cuban shortstop currently awaits for this visa in the Dominican Republic. The Dodgers also had to wait for Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero to get a visa for a few weeks before he landed in Miami.
The 23 year old has six years of Cuban professional baseball under his belt as well as experience playing for the Cuban national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but he’ll most likely start his career in the minor leagues. His defensive abilities are unquestionably an asset, but his production at the plate seems to fall short to his fielding talent.
Where the 23-year-old shortstop fits in the Dodgers long-term plans remains to be seen. Hanley Ramirez still hasn’t really discussed an extension with the organization yet, but both parties are interested in having the current shortstop to stay in Los Angeles. Ramirez is likely headed to third base in the near future and the Dodgers have top prospect Corey Seager waiting in the wings to play either shortstop or third base.
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