Dodgers Sign Cuban Shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena

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Cuban infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena has signed a five-year contract with the Dodgers. (Facebook/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Cuban infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena has signed a five-year contract with the Dodgers. (Facebook/Los Angeles Dodgers)

The Dodgers announced the signing of Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year, $25 million contract Saturday, ten days after it was reported that the two sides had agreed to terms on a deal.

There deal includes a $7.5 million signing bonus.

The Dodgers and Arruebarrena had agreed to a preliminary deal recently, but it wasn’t until the shortstop passed a physical exam and cleared several international legal hurdles that the deal became official.

Arruebarrena, 23, hit .276 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 and has received comparisons to Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, has appeared primarily at shortstop during his career, but has also played second base and third base professionally.

“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.”

Arruebarrena is expected to make an impact on the 2014 season. He is the second Cuban the Dodgers have signed this offseason, after signing second baseman Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million deal in October.

Arruebarrena is currently training in the Dominican Republic while the Dodgers begin playing spring training games this week in Glendale, Arizona. He is currently awaiting a work visa, and will likely start the season in the Minor Leagues, though he isn’t expected to be there long.

There is no word on how or if this will impact negotiations with current Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, but General Manager Ned Colleti has said Ramirez is “open mided” to a move to third base in the future.

Arruebarrena was a teammate of Yasiel Puig with Cienfuegos in 2010-2011.

The Dodgers designated Justin Sellers for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Francisco Reyes is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering entertainment and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @fjr3487
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