While the Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately decided against signing Yoan Moncada, it may not be long before they corner the international free agent market. The next signing period begins July 2, but the Dodgers could make a splash before then.
With Moncada now with the Boston Red Sox, Hector Olivera is in some respects the next hottest Cuban prospect available. Although he’s yet to be cleared as a free agent by MLB, Olivera has already taken physicals for the Dodgers and others, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Sources: Cuban IFer Hector Olivera has taken physicals for a number of teams in recent weeks, including #Dodgers…
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 1, 2015
At being 29 years old and having more than five years of experience in a Cuban professional league, Olivera is not tied to the same signing penalties Moncada was if a team went over their allotted signing bonus money — 100 percent penalty tax and limited spending power over the next two signing periods.
Roughly two weeks ago it was reported Olivera’s contract could reach the neighborhood of $70 million; however, it should be noted estimates had Moncada receiving a $40-50 signing bonus that ended up being $31.5 million from the Red Sox — record-setting nonetheless.
Olivera impressed in multiple February showcases, including one played in front of a large contingent of Dodgers representatives. While he’s spent the majority of his career at second base, Olivera is also capable of playing third.
In portions of 10 seasons (642 games) playing for Santiago de Cuba, Olivera is a career .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBIs. With physicals out of the way, Olivera’s free agency could progress quickly once he’s cleared by MLB, which is largely considered to be a formality at this point.
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