With the Los Angeles Dodgers weeks into Spring Training, plenty of focus has been on the prospects in camp who have continued to impress when given the opportunity to play. While their success is encouraging for the future of the franchise, the Dodgers may be a few months away from adding to their growing collection of talent.
After passing on Yoan Moncada so as not to be penalized during the 2015 international signing period, the Dodgers are expected to be big players in a market that includes several young prospects. However, potentially also in the Dodgers’ line of sight is 29-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera.
Olivera has twice worked out for the Dodges and recently completed a physical for them and other teams. All of that was being done without him officially being deemed a free agent. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, that is no longer the case and Olivera is free to sign with team:
Source: Hector Olivera has been declared a free agent by MLB and is free to enter into a contract with a big league club. #Cuba
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) March 7, 2015
It was reported mid-February the Dodgers had strong interest in February and a follow-up report suggested his contract could reach the neighborhood of $70 million. However on Thursday, word of a potential UCL injury began to spread, but was predictably denied by Olivera’s camp:
Reps for Hector Olivera surprised to hear report & unaware of any UCL damage. Say HO feels fine & had private workout for a club last week.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) March 6, 2015
Olivera missed all of last season due to injury and his checkered medical past has led to some believing he may not be worth the financial risk. Capable of playing third base, Olivera conceivably would be a replacement for Juan Uribe following the 2015 season.
Though, that may no longer be necessary with manager Don Mattingly recently stating Alex Guerrero has looks comfortable at the position. Olivera’s done his part by performing well in front of Dodger executives at multiple showcases and signing him would mean nothing more than a financial risk.
At 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.