The Los Angeles Dodgers are prepared to add another player to their picture in the infield, and another Cuban player to boot. The team is reportedly close to a deal with 24-year-old shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the two sides are close to deal.
Arruebarruena is know more for his defense than for his offense. Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote the following about the young shortstop in a scouting report last November:
At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Arruebarruena has clean hands, quick actions and good body control. He’s a below-average runner, but his quick first step and instincts give him good range…His awareness in the field is advanced and he’s shown the ability to make the barehanded play look routine and make strong throws from different angles. Scouts have called Arruebarruena a magician in the field, and if he can hit enough to be an everyday major league shortstop, he has the potential to win a Gold Glove.”
Whether he will hit enough is another thing, but at such a young age the Dodgers can afford to take a chance on him and see if his offense develops.
Earlier this off-season the Dodgers signed Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. The move to add Arruebarruena can be seen as beneficial short-term and long-term. Hanley Ramirez is obviously blocking the way at short for the time being, but in the event that he gets hurt again, Arruebarruena serves as a much better back-up option than the barely-competent options of 2013 (Nick Punto, Dee Gordon, et al.)
If he develops the offense to go with his glove, then the team could potentially re-visit the option of moving Ramirez to third base (sometime after he signs a contract with them for life).
Oh, to be the Dodgers.