Arruebarruena: When will he sign with Dodgers?

Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena is only a few steps away from becoming the newest member of the Dodgers.

According to industry sources, the 23-year old has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and was cleared by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to enter into a contract with a Major League club after he established residency in Haiti.

The infielder is currently working out in the Dominican Republic and is waiting on a P-1 work Visa before he can finalize what is expected to be a five or six-year deal worth $25 million with Los Angeles. The Dodgers, who also signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract this winter, have not confirmed the Arruebarruena signing.

“We signed Alexander and we’re trying to sign another player because it’s tough in the Draft to find those players,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said at the second annual Cactus League Media Day on Tuesday. “You are pretty limited in the Draft as far as good hitters that can play in the middle of the infield. The way we look at it, we have the need for it in our organization and we’ve gone after them the way we have.”

Known for his defense, Arruebarruena is a right-handed hitter and natural shortstop but he can also play second base. He played with Yasiel Puig and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in Serie Nacional, the island’s top professional league, and was also member of Cuba’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team. The 6-ft, 195-pound infielder played in several international tournaments as member of the island’s national team.

Arruebarruena’s addition could add more intrigue to an already interesting competition for playing time in the infield. On Wednesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he would be open to a platoon at second base because of Guerrero’s slow transition from playing shortstop in Cuba to second base in the United States.

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