The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to sign Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to a six-year, $62.5 million contract — the deal is also said to include a team option at $1 million for a seventh year should Olivera require Tommy John surgery.
Whether the life of the contract winds up at six or seven years, the deal represents the Dodgers’ largest financial commitment under the new front office. It’s also a larger contract than many predicted for the soon-to-be 30 year old, who comes with some injury concern.
Although some may believe the Dodgers overspent on Olivera, team president and baseball of operations Andrew Friedman simply chalks it up to varying schools of thought and opinion, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
There have been some guys who have signed free-agent wise that we haven’t agreed with,” Friedman said, speaking generally about Cuban players. “There are probably some guys that we’ve signed that others haven’t agreed with. I think it’s what makes the world go around.”
With a front office and scouting department that certainly isn’t lacking in numbers, Friedman also added he trusts the Dodgers’ ability to evaluate talent:
Everyone has different evaluations and thoughts in terms of contract structure. I think that’s good for us, that not all 30 teams are thinking the exact same way. We’re confident in our ability to evaluate talent and figure out what makes sense for us.”
Prior to news of a deal being in place with Olivera, the Dodgers also agreed to terms with Cuban right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez, whom some believe is another Cuban talent the Dodgers overpaid for.
Of the two Cuban prospects, Olivera figures to reach the Majors first. Although when considering he still needs to obtain a United States work visa, coupled with expected Minor League games, it’s possible Olivera’s Major-League debut won’t come until the latter stages of the season.
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