Source: Dodgers close with Cuban 2B

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to work hard to construct a Cuban pipeline to their major league team.

Spurred since June by the arrival of Cuban rookie Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers on Monday were nearing an agreement to sign fellow Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero, according to a baseball source. The deal is in the hands of Major League Baseball awaiting approval.

ESPNdeportes reported in July that it was a seven-year, $32 million deal, but was on hold pending Guerrero getting cleared by the U.S. government.

Guerrero, 26, can play shortstop and second base and was a two-time All-Star in Cuba's Serie Nacional, the top league on the island. He defected earlier this year, established residency in Haiti and was training in the Dominican Republic, where he tried out at the Dodgers' Dominican complex.

He was granted free agency in July, but was not unblocked by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control until Friday.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Guerrero likely will enter spring training as the favorite to be the Dodgers' every-day second baseman next season. Mark Ellis, 36, is in the final year of his contract with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers signed Puig for seven years and $42 million in June of 2012.