We don't know the full story on the latest issue with a Cuban prospect. It could be culture shock. It could be a personality problem (hot Latin temper stereotype; the macho thing). But it is almost a trend that multi-million dollar bonus babies are getting quickly into trouble.
The Associated Press reported that Dodgers prospect Erisbel Arruebarrena was suspended for the remainder of the season for what the team said was ''repeated failures to comply with his contract.''
Club officials declined further comment.
Arruebarrena signed a $25 million, five-year contract in February 2014. He split the season among four minor league teams and the Dodgers and made his big league debut on last May 23. He hit .195 in 22 games for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers designated him for assignment on Dec. 31, and when he cleared waivers he was sent outright to the team's Triple-A affiliate.
The 25-year-old Cuban remained at extended spring training and did not play in any minor league games this year, when his deal calls for a $3 million salary. The club does not have to pay him while suspended list.
The team had previously indicated that it was not related to a testing program violation. It is unknown what other contract provision was breached to get a full year suspension. However, Arruebarrena was at the center of a major brawl in Triple-A last year, at one point taking off his helmet and throwing it at former major leaguer Mike Jacobs. If the player or his agent appeals, it would be heard by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Other teams may not feel too bad for the Dodgers wasting signing bonus money on a suspended prospect. But there is a lesson for all general managers who are looking to the Caribbean and Cuba for the next great prospects. The mental make-up of players is just as important as the perceived skill levels. In fact, the former could be the most important issue in a player's development.