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.

Rays acquire Wilmer Font from Athletics

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In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.

This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.

Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.