Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers made another huge splash into the international free agent pool on Saturday, signing prized Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year contract.
MLB.com reports that the deal is worth $25 million. Arruebarrena, a former teammate of current Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in Cuba, had been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball earlier this week after successfully defecting from his native land.
The 23-year-old batted .276 with 67 doubles, 27 home runs and 171 RBI in 437 games over six seasons with Cienfugos in the Cuban National Series from 2007-2013. Arruebarrena also served as the regular shortstop for Cuba in last year's World Baseball Classic, where he batted .375 with four runs scored in six games.
"Signing Arruebarrena gives us another very good middle infielder, who is an outstanding defender," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "It continues our efforts internationally to add talent that can positively affect the Major League club - be it immediately or in the very near future."
The Dodgers have been baseball's most aggressive team on the international front. In addition to bringing in Puig and Arruebarrena, Los Angeles also signed Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract during the offseason.
Los Angeles also inked highly regarded Korean hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu to a six- year contract in November of 2012, with the left-hander posting a 14-8 record and a 3.00 ERA in his first major league campaign to help the Dodgers win the National League West.