Arruebarrena, whose name was clearly spelled differently during the 2013 World Baseball Classic (right), has finalized a five-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers, the team announced Saturday. Terms of the contract were first reported yesterday.
That’s a large contract for a player who might not begin the season on the major-league roster, but the Dodgers did no shortage of homework.
“Bob Engle and his scouts have seen him for quite a while,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Rick (Ragazzo) and Vance (Lovelace) saw him this past winter. He brings really excellent defense with him. We still have a few crossroads to get through as far as getting him to the States. We think he adds to our major-league club at some point this year. He can play shortstop at a high level, second base and third base as well, but we see him as a shortstop.”
Justin Sellers was designated for assignment to make room for Arruebarrena on the 40-man roster.
Arruebarrena, 23, posted a .276 batting average with 67 doubles, 25 triples, 27 homers and 171 RBI in 437 career games in six seasons for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional from 2007-2013. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, who is known for his defense, has appeared primarily at shortstop during his career, but has also played second base and third base professionally. With Cienfuegos during the 2012-13 season, Arruebarrena hit .293 with a .366 on-base percentage, six home runs and 32 RBI in 70 regular-season games before going 6-for-14 (.429) in six postseason contests.
“We are excited to sign Erisbel, who we’ve scouted in international competition for a long time.” said Dodger Vice President, International Scouting Bob Engle. “He brings another superb glove to our organization.”
The Cienfuegos, Cuba native was the starting shortstop for his home country in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, batting .375 with a .444 on-base percentage, four runs scored and two RBI in six games in the tournament. He also played internationally for Cuba in the 2011 Pan American Games and batted .445 (8-for-18) with three runs scored, a double and an RBI in five games.
Arruebarrena was a teammate of Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig with Cienfuegos in 2010-11.