The Los Angeles Dodgers have been extremely active on the international singing front in recent years, especially with players from Cuba. The team signed Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena to multi-year contracts out of Cuba, and it’s worked out for the most part.
The Dodgers are at it again as they made the signing of infielder Hector Olivera official Tuesday, as Olivera was finally able to obtain his visa, come to the United States and pass his physical. The team also announced the signing of Cuban right-handed pitcher Pablo Fernandez to a minor league deal. In order to make room for Olivera, the Dodgers designated Eury De La Rosa for assignment.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believes that both guys will make an impact on the Dodgers:
“We are excited to be adding two players to our organization that have consistently demonstrated their talent in Cuba as well as in international competition,” said Dodger President of Baseball Operation Andrew Friedman. “We look forward to adding them to our organization and are confident they will be able to contribute to the Dodgers in the near future.”
The 30-year-old Olivera has a .323 career batting average with 96 home runs and 433 RBI, appearing primarily at first base and second base, in 10 seasons with Santiago from 2003-2014. During the course of his career, Olivera has posted a .407 on-base percentage, while drawing more walks (367) than strikeouts (251).
Because of his age and experience, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick said that Olivera hopes he will be up with the big league club real soon:
Olivera told Jesse Sanchez he reports to Camelback Ranch this week, hopes for call-up to LA in 3-4 weeks, but will do whatever's asked.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) May 19, 2015
With Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe all in the last years of their contracts, having Olivera to provide infield depth is crucial. He was signed to a six-year contract worth $62.5 million, so with that kind of money invested in him ideally the organization would like him to be an everyday player in the near future.
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