The Los Angeles Dodgers are close to completing a deal with Cuban infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez, which would be a minor league contract, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Universo Deportivo out of the Dominican Republic was the first to report that Fernandez would be heading to Los Angeles.
The 28-year-old infielder is from international bonus pools and has been eligible to sign with any major-league team since the beginning of April 2016. Fernandez had defected from Cuba back in December 2015 and had been getting scouted by the Dodgers as early as May 2016, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.
Before his defection over a year ago, Fernandez had been ranked as the third-best prospect still playing in Cuba behind Yulieski Gurriel (now with the Houston Astros) and Alfredo Despaigne (played in Japan in 2016), according to Baseball America. Fernandez has only played in 15 games since the start of 2014, as he served a suspension for trying to escape from the Cuban island.
He played in 18 games earlier this winter for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League, recording five runs batted in, while hitting .286/.369/.286 with 16 hits — all of which were singles. Earlier this season, Badler wrote that when he played in Cuba, "he showed excellent plate discipline and bat control from the left side, projecting as an offensive-minded, high OBP second baseman who could help a major league team quickly."
Fernandez had caught the attention of big league teams and scouts back when he played for the Cuban national team during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he hit .524/.545/.667 over 21 at-bats. Over eight seasons for Cocodrilos de Matanzas in Cuba, he slashed .319/.403/.423 over 2580 career plate appearances, along with 37 home runs, 105 doubles, six triples and 318 runs batted in, in 608 games played.null