With a Major-League roster that’s been tinkered with throughout the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers may soon be adding to their collection of talent. They’ve recently been linked to multiple Cuban prospects and a report on Monday has the Dodgers still searching for another relief pitcher.
Yoan Moncada is the most-talented and recognizable name among the Cuban prospects the Dodgers have been tied to, but it may be another infielder who the team signs. According to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Dodgers have strong interest in Hector Olivera:
Separately, major-league sources confirmed to FOX Sports that the Dodgers do, in fact, have strong interest in Olivera, who also is a target of the Oakland Athletics.
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Olivera is seeking a five or six-year contract comparable to what Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas received:
International sources tell MLB.com the infielder is seeking a five-to-six year deal that rivals the contracts award to Arizona’s Yasmany Tomas (six years, $68.5 million) and Boston’s Rusney Castillo (seven years, $72.5 million).
In February alone, the Dodgers have twice scouted Olivera at an open showcase game in the Dominican Republic during a five-day span. In the second game, Olivera reached base in all five of his plate appearances, including hitting two doubles.
At 29-years-old Olivera isn’t subject to the same international signing rules that the Dodgers would need to abide by if they were to come to terms with the 19-year-old Moncada. In portions of 10 seasons playing for Santiago de Cuba, Olivera is a career .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBIs.
Olivera’s older age makes him more Major-League ready, which would present an interesting scenario for the Dodgers when considering the contract status of their infielders. While Juan Uribe battled hamstring injuries in 2014, he played well when healthy and is entering the final year of his contract.
Moreover, Howie Kendrick also only has one remaining on his deal. Olivera is capable of playing second and third base, though the Dodgers presumably would be more inclined to re-sign Kendrick, who is younger than Uribe, and place Olivera at third base.
One obstacle to the Dodgers signing the 29 year old is Olivera has yet to be cleared by Major League Baseball, though it’s widely considered nothing more than a formality. Considering the Dodgers can freely sign Olivera once he’s cleared by MLB, it’s conceivable the Dodgers could land both he and Moncada.