Spring training is just over two weeks away and the Los Angeles Dodgers will continue to look for talent to add to camp and have healthy competition at some positions. Last week, the team signed catcher Miguel Olivo to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training to compete for a spot on the roster as a catcher.
The Dodgers currently have starter A.J. Ellis and backup Tim Federowicz, but it isn’t yet set in stone. However, as they’ve shown in the past with signings of Cuban players Yasiel Puig and Alxander Guerrero, the team will continue to sign international talent.
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, a Cuban catcher will be available to sign as a free agent:
Cuban catching prospect Yenier Bello has cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and can now enter into an agreement with a Major League team, according to an industry source.
Several teams, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and Blue Jays have been linked to the catcher. He is expected to sign before the start of Spring Training
Bello is a 28-year-old catcher with a some power and a strong arm behind the plate. The Dodgers attended a workout for catcher in the off-season and reportedly had some interest. Bello left Cuba last year and established his residency in Mexico, where he held his workouts. He’s been a free agent since the end of 2013 but was not yet cleared by the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control). In Cuba, Bello played primarily for the Sancti Spiritus of La Serie Nacional until 2012. His best season came in 2010-2011 when he hit .320 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI in 92 games. In his career, he’s thrown out exactly 50% of base runners in over 500 games.
Catcher isn’t a position of need for the Dodgers at the big-league level but could sign Bello to push Ellis and Federowicz and build some depth at the spot; however, he may decide to sign with a team that gives him a good chance of competing for a spot in the big leagues.
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