Dodgers reach agreement with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena

Big day for shortstop news in major league baseball, what with Derek Jeter announcing this will be his last season and the Dodgers apparently providing the answer to team president Stan Kasten’s “mystery player” by agreeing to terms Wednesday with a big name — or at least a really long one.
Los_Angeles_DodgersErisbel Arruebarruena, reportedly a slick-fielding, light-hitting shortstop, has reach a contract agreement with the Dodgers, two sources told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. He still has to pass a physical, and there could yet be some immigration issues to be resolved. The Dodgers have not formally announced the deal.
But otherwise the Dodgers’ Cuban pipeline continues to flow. The Dodgers already have two projected Cuban starters in their lineup in outfielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Alex Guerrero.
Arruebarruena certainly doesn’t figure to start and at best has an immediate future as a backup infielder, one of the Dodgers’ few real needs. More likely, he’ll start the season in the minors to get used to American baseball while the Dodgers see if they can make do with Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon, Justin Turner or Brandan Harris.
Kasten had told season-ticket holders Monday that the Dodgers soon would be adding a mystery player.
Arruebarruena, who turns 24 next month, spent six seasons playing in Cuba so he’s not subject to the international spending cap. He reportedly defected in November and established residency in Haiti.
He bats right-handed and played with Puig for Cienfuegos. In 2012-2013 he hit .293 with a .366 on-base percentage and a .422 slugging percentage. He sounds similar to Miguel Rojas, a non-roster invitee best known for his glove.
That hardly translates into someone ready to make an offensive mark in the majors. But on a team seemingly loaded with offense, later in the season the Dodgers could find him a useful fill-in.
For an organization whose major shortstop prospect, Corey Seager, spent last season at Class A and could be moved to third, Arruebarruena at least adds needed organizational depth.


About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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