The Los Angeles Dodgers signed a pair of Cubans back in March, but have yet to see them in the United States due to visa issues.
Infielder Hector Olivera and right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez were both signed during Spring Training, and both were working out in the Dominican Republic as they awaited visas to be able to enter the U.S. Olivera signed a six-year, $62.5 million deal and is expected to join the team as soon as he is ready to go, while Fernandez signed a minor-league deal with an $8 million signing bonus.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, the pair will be heading to the U.S.:
Both #Dodgers Cuban signees IF Hector Olivera and RHP Pablo Fernandez have received visas. Cleared to travel to US. Expected later this week
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 11, 2015
Olivera was rumored to have torn his UCL and that it would require Tommy John surgery; however, he said it was a slight tear and that he could play with it. The Dodgers protected themselves by adding a clause to the deal that gives them an extra year of the infielder for $1 million if he does require surgery. The right-handed hitting Olivera will likely join extended Spring Training to get into shape before joining one of the minor-league affiliates to get some games under his belt. Many expect him to be ready to join the club after the All-Star break in July.
Fernandez’s signing was not as big as Olivera’s and it’s possible that the right-handed may not reach the big leagues in 2015. He will have to build up his arm and the Dodgers will have to decide how they will use him: as a reliever or a starter. He adds to the depth that the front office has built since taking over in the offseason.
With Yasiel Puig and Alex Guerrero, as well as Yasmani Grandal and Paco Rodriguez, already on the roster, the Dodgers could be adding more Cubans in the near future.
Yasmani Grandal Defends Dodgers Bullpen