Dodgers close to signing slick-fielding Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena

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Continuing their focus on using their spending advantages to acquire talent internationally the Dodgers are close to signing Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

Arruebarruena defected from Cuba in November and held workouts for MLB teams in December. He’s considered an elite defensive shortstop, but there are lots of questions about how his hitting will translate to the majors.

Because he’s 24 years old the spending won’t count against the international limits, giving the Dodgers a way to spend all that cash they have sitting around. Earlier this offseason the Dodgers signed another Cuban middle infielder, Alexander Guerrero, for $28 million, and in 2012 they dropped $42 million on Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.