Dodgers sign Erisbel Arruebarrena
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year contract Saturday.
The deal will pay Arruebarrena $25 million, according to a source, which includes a reported $7.5 million signing bonus.
Arruebarrena remains in the Dominican Republic, trying to secure a visa to travel to Arizona to join the team's spring training camp, and likely will begin the season in the minor leagues, but the Dodgers think he has a chance to be their shortstop of the future.
"We think he adds to our major-league club at some point this year, someone who can play shortstop at a high level," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said.
The Dodgers have begun discussions with shortstop Hanley Ramirez on a long-term contract extension, but Colletti said Ramirez is open to moving positions, likely to third base. Ramirez is a free agent at the end of the upcoming season.
The Dodgers hope Arruebarrena can improve his hitting with some time in the minor leagues. The 23-year old batted .276 with 67 doubles, 27 home runs and 171 RBIs in 437 career games in the Cuban Serie Nacional. He was teammates with Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig.
"He brings another superb glove to our organization," said the Dodgers' top international scout, Bob Engle.
Initial reports of the Dodgers' interest in Arruebarrena indicated his name was spelled "Arruebarruena," which is how it was spelled on the Cuban national team's jersey, but the Dodgers changed the spelling when they saw Arruebarrena's passport.
The team designated infielder Justin Sellers for assignment to clear room on its 40-man roster.