After being relatively quiet on the trade and free agent front so far in 2015, the Los Angeles Dodgers have continuously been linked to a host of Cuban talent that would further upgrade their talented farm system.
The most recognizable of these players is 19-year-old phenom Yoan Moncada. But the Dodgers have been recently linked to 29-year-old infielder Hector Olivera, who the team reportedly has ‘strong interest’ in.
Although he turns 30 in April, Olivera has reportedly drawn interest from a handful of teams. The Santiago de Cuba product is talented and certainly has the experience to immediately slot in for a Major League team. According to Peter Gammons, executives have two separate projections for the contract Olivera will eventually receive:
One exec this morning predicted Hector Olivera will get $45-50M, another, interested, $65-70M. Olivera may be 29, but he can hit.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) February 17, 2015
With the interest that Olivera has drawn so far, it should be noted that he still has yet to be cleared as a free agent by Major League Baseball. If and when Olivera is cleared, he’s rumored to be seeking a contract similar to that of fellow Cubans Rusney Castillo (seven years, $72.5 million) and Yasmany Tomas of the Arizona Diamondbacks (six years, $68.5 million).
Olivera has drawn attention for his offensive prowess, yet there are still question marks surrounding him given his age and lack of MLB experience. But he could prove to be a formidable replacement for Juan Uribe, who has struggled with injuries in his tenure as a Dodger.
Additionally, second baseman Howie Kendrick is in the last year of his contract, and should he walk, Olivera could fill in at that position as well. Whether or not the Dodgers pull the trigger on any of the Cuban talent they have been connected with remains to be seen.
Chris Hatcher Discusses Learning Of Trade To Dodgers While Being Abroad