So this was really interesting out of Dodgers fanfest yesterday.
Colletti: #Dodgers expecting to sign utiltyman (minor league deal) and international player soon to increase IF depth.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) February 1, 2014
We understand the utilityman on a minor league deal. And I fully expect it to be Justin Turner, unless Ned Colletti has a particular affinity for Nick Green. Anytime within the next 5 days was when something could get done, so I expect the Dodgers to sign a deal fairly soon, but we’ll see. What really caught my eye is the international player that Colletti “expects” to sign. I wrote a small piece on what type of international prospects (more specifically Cubans) were out there for the taking, and you can see scouting reports mixed in on some of them.
Oh and also don’t expect Rusney Castillo to be in Dodger blue anytime soon Eric Stephen of truebluela.com writes
Of the domestic utility infielder, Colletti said it would be a minor league deal, which when browsing the now-barren MLB Trade Rumors free agent tracker is pretty much limited to Justin Turner and Nick Green. Colletti said the international signee wasn’t someone he saw in the last two weeks, eliminating Cuban utility man Rusney Castillo.
So we can eliminate Castillo from the conversation. Besides, Rusney hasn’t been cleared by the OFAC, nor has he established residency in a separate country, two steps Alexander Guerrero had to go through.
The more I think about it, the more 3 names come to mind.
Diaz of course because he plays shortstop. He could become an offensive threat at the plate, and may have just enough glove to stick at shortstop. Dustin Nosler did a quick profile of a lot of the Cubans on the international free agent market and had this to say about Aledmys
Diaz profiles as a true shortstop with enough glove to stick at the position in the majors. If he does, his bat could end up being above-average. He hit .307/.401/.440 in 1,122 career at-bats in Cuba in his age-19 through 22 seasons. As the youngest player here, he posted the most impressive offensive numbers. The only issue with the Dodgers going after him is where to play him.
I like it. I’m personally hoping for him to be a Dodger because for the first time in forever, I would love the Dodgers to have a disgusting amount of infield depth. Aledmys Diaz, Alexander Guerrero, Hanley Ramirez, Corey Seager all by the time 2015/2016 roles around? Yes please. If they all pan out, it would be great, that’s is a good situation to be in.
Here’s some video on Aledmys
Moving on, you have Erisbel Arruebarruena who has an 80 name, easily. I think he’s a very plausible option for a couple of reasons. He is said to be one of the best defenders on the island of Cuba. Remember the amazing plays Jose Iglesias made as a member of the Tigers/Red Sox? Yep that’s the type of talent he is. Of course with that amount of talent comes questions. Like, will he ever hit enough to justify a major league roster spot remember, we’re not talking about whether he can hit enough to start, it’s whether he can even be a replacement level major leaguer which isn’t very encouraging when talking about his offensive profile. However I think he could get signed because he doesn’t need to start on this team. If he can be Jose Iglesias with the glove, and hit like Jose Iglesias has in his 144 games in the U.S., you have one of the better backups in the league. If Erisbel can hit at a .275/.325/.355 clip for his career, with the gold glove defense he’s said to have then he’s a hugely valuable commodity that I would take in an instant.
Finally the guy I have a feeling they’ll nab, is Yenier Bello. He of course has power, and good defense behind the plate. If Bello has any chance of being a regular in the major leagues, I think you take that chance on him. Tim Federowicz isn’t a bad backup, he just… well… can’t hit at all. And there’s value in a backup who is good with the glove, but if Bello has any chance to be a regular in the major leagues from an up the middle position you take that chance. A.J. Ellis is going to be your starting catcher in 2014, he should be. But in a few years, maybe Bello is the answer for the question at Catcher.
Regardless, i’m excited to see who the Dodgers end up signing (if any). It’s equally as likely that they’ll sign someone we’ve never heard of out a non-Cuban country. But who knows, the more Cubans, the merrier time it has seemed like, and there’s a lot of Cuban free agents out there.