NL West Notes: Tulo, Ishikawa, Dodgers, Ryu

The Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation has been plentiful over the past week, but Jon Morosi of FOX Sports asked Rockies owner Dick Monfort about the rumors at this week’s owners meetings (Twitter link) and was told, “We’re not trying to trade him. There’s no story there.” Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, couldn’t even get that level of an answer out of Monfort last week, as Rosenthal recently wrote that Monfort quickly hung up the phone when asked about the Tulowitzki trade scenario. Many, including Rosenthal, have written that the belief is that Monfort himself, not GM Jeff Bridich or Tulowitzki, is in control of whether or not the shortstop is traded. Monfort has a history of reluctance in trading veterans; a report from hall of fame journalist Peter Gammons last summer indicated that Monfort vetoed a trade of Jorge De La Rosa for highly touted prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. De La Rosa was signed to a two-year extension shortly thereafter.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Travis Ishikawa is nearing a return from the disabled list, and his impending activation creates a potentially uncomfortable roster crunch for the Giants, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants will have to either trim a member of their bullpen or cut a bench player to activate Ishikawa, neither of which is a desirable outcome for the club, Haft continues. Ishikawa is aware that with Brandon Belt and Nori Aoki playing well, at-bats with the big league club could be few and far between, but he’s ok with a reduced role. “If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be,” Ishikawa said. To this point, the veteran first baseman/outfielder said he hasn’t received any indication from the club as to what their decision will be.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Dodgers‘ glut of infielders could be leveraged in trades to address the starting rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are already out for the season, and as Saxon notes, Friedman told reporters (including MLBTR’s Zach Links) that an excess of good players can benefit a team by making trades easier to facilitate. Saxon quotes Friedman as saying, “…if we can add an arm, that would certainly be helpful.” I’d add that the Dodgers’ rotation is currently also banking on the injury-prone Brett Anderson to remain healthy, further increasing the possibility that the Dodgers may need to look outside the organization for rotation help. Of course, as Saxon notes, Brandon Beachy is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to return by June. Given that he’s returning from his second TJ operation, however, it would likely behoove the Dodgers to have depth beyond Beachy, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger.
  • Losing Ryu will make the Dodgers‘ efforts to acquire a starter significantly more difficult, opines Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Rival clubs already knew that they had leverage over the Dodgers, given the team’s rotation holes, and with Ryu slated to go under the knife, the Dodgers’ need has only been magnified. The Dodgers need to add a reliable mid-rotation arm, but teams can afford to demand a more premium asking price, Dilbeck feels, knowing that the Dodgers aren’t likely to be able to get by for the rest of the season with Anderson, Beachy, Bolsinger and Frias supporting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
  • For those who didn’t see earlier, the Rockies made the somewhat surprising decision to option Drew Stubbs, who has five-plus years of Major League service, to Triple-A. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd took a look at the situation in more detail.

Rockies Option Drew Stubbs, Recall Brandon Barnes

The Rockies have optioned struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs to Triple-A, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). Taking his place on the active roster is Brandon Barnes.

Stubbs, 30, avoided arbitration with a $5.825MM contract this year — his final before hitting the open market. Notably, given his 5+ service time, Stubbs both had to pass through revocable optional waivers and consent to the assignment.

This season has been nothing but hardship for Stubbs, who is slashing just .118/.182/.255 in 56 plate appearances. That represents a notable disappointment for him after a stellar 2014 campaign in which he put up a strong .289/.339/.482 batting line. Though he only took 424 plate appearances, strong baserunning and solid defensive marks let him with 2.6 fWAR and 2.7 rWAR.

Barnes, meanwhile, joined Stubbs as a pre-2014 acquisition for Colorado, but the 29-year-old did not enjoy quite as much success. He has been working at Triple-A this year, where he has put up a .205/.266/.364 slash over 143 turns at bat.


Mariners Sign Kevin Gregg

The Marines have signed righty Kevin Gregg to a minor league deal, the team announced (via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, on Twitter). He will head to Triple-A, taking the place of the recently-traded Yoervis Medina in the Tacoma pen.

Gregg, 36, was designated recently by the Reds after opening the year with a prominent role in the Cincinnati pen. He struck out 14 batters in his 10 2/3 innings, walking five in the process, but nevertheless scuffled to a 10.13 ERA.

Over parts of 13 years in the big leagues, Gregg has posted 720 1/3 innings and averaged a 4.24 ERA. His best stretch came in the 2007-2010 time frame, when he closed for the Marlins, Cubs, and Blue Jays. (Since, he has also functioned in a 9th-inning capacity for the Orioles and again in Chicago.)



Minor Moves: Baker, Pimentel, Francis

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • It appears that the Mariners have released veteran backstop John Baker, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Obviously, Seattle just added an additional catcher to its organization with the acquisition of Welington Castillo. Baker, 34, has hit just .161/.185/.194 in 65 plate appearances this year with Tacoma. He has seen big league action in seven seasons.
  • The Rangers have assigned right-handed reliever Stolmy Pimentel to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Texas will no doubt be pleased to retain the rights to the 25-year-old, who owns a 3.97 ERA over 11 1/3 innings on the year. Pimentel has seen his strikeout numbers plummet from double figures last year to just 5.6 per nine thus far in 2015.
  • Blue Jays lefty Jeff Francis has cleared outright waivers and is expected to report to Triple-A, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The 34-year-old has given up nine earned runs over 12 innings thus far, though he has struck out 15 opposing batters while walking five.

Rangers Designate Carlos Peguero

The Rangers have designated outfielder Carlos Peguero for assignment, club executive VP of communications John Blake announced on Twitter.

The club needed a roster spot for righty Phil Klein, who will start tonight. But in the bigger picture, Peguero’s role — left-handed power bat at the outfield corner — will be taken over soon by Josh Hamilton.

Peguero, 28, has hit at about a league average clip  — with marginal on-base numbers (.314 OBP) offset by good power output (.414 slugging percntage with four home runs) — through his 84 plate appearances on the year. That continues a rather familiar narrative for the slugger, who launched 38 long balls at Triple-A last year while striking out 189 times in 556 plate appearances.


Hyun-jin Ryu To Undergo Shoulder Surgery

MAY 20: The Dodgers announced that Ryu will have an arthroscopic procedure tomorrow, to be performed by team surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

MAY 19, 11:45pm: Ryu has elected to undergo shoulder surgery, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. According to Saxon’s source, an MRI on Ryu’s shoulder didn’t reveal a tear or any obvious structural damage, so the surgery would be exploratory in nature — an attempt to determine the cause of the inflammation that has prevented him from pitching in 2015. Nevertheless, an operation of that nature would cast significant doubt on Ryu’s ability to pitch for the Dodgers this season and, as Saxon notes, could send the team into a full-scale search for starting pitching upgrades.

11:40am: A “shoulder cleanup” is likely, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.

10:58am: Dodgers lefty Hyun-jin Ryu is weighing the possibility of a surgical option to solve his shoulder problems, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. While Passan notes that a report out of Ryu’s native Korea suggests surgery will take place this week, his sources say that a decision has yet to be made.

This development is the latest sign of trouble for Ryu, who has struggled to regain velocity as his shoulder has continued to prove problematic. Ryu has yet to pitch this year, and recent reports indicated that he did not even have a timetable to re-start a throwing program.

The 28-year-old experienced arm issues last year, but has been excellent when healthy. All said, he’s provided Los Angeles with 344 innings of 3.17 ERA pitching, with 7.7 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, over the last two seasons.

The Dodgers signed Ryu for six years and $36MM out of Korea in the winter of 2012 after paying a $25.7MM posting fee. That contract has long looked like a steal, but will cost the team more in the coming seasons, as Ryu is owed $7MM annually from 2016-18. (Of course, that’s a relatively meager sum for the large-budget Dodgers.)

Of more immediate concern to Los Angeles, the prospect of an even longer absence from Ryu brings the team’s starting depth into further question. Major free agent addition Brandon McCarthy is already going to miss this year and much of next after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and the team is currently trotting out Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias as its fourth and fifth starters. While those pitchers have (somewhat surprisingly) provided excellent results to date, it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers play a significant role on the summer trade market.


Red Sox Acquire John Cornely From Braves

The Red Sox announced today that the club has acquired right-handed pitcher John Cornely from the Braves. Atlanta will receive cash considerations in the deal.

The 26-year-old saw just one inning with the Braves, his first as a big leaguer, before being designated for assignment yesterday. He has posted 17 1/3 innings of 4.15 ERA pitching at Triple-A this season, showing promise with 11.9 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.

This is Cornely’s first season at the highest level of the minors. He earned the promotion after posting a 2.49 ERA in 68 2/3 Double-A frames last year. The former 15th-round pick will head to Pawtucket on optional assignment for Boston.


Blue Jays Sign Alex Hassan To Minors Deal

The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Alex Hassan to a minor league deal, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. Hassan will head to extended Spring Training to start his tenure with Toronto.

Hassan, 27, has had the good and bad fortune of being a popular waiver wire claimee numerous times in recent months. (See this post for documentation of his travels.) He has always put up strong average and on-base numbers in the minors, slashing a combined .278/.381/.402 in his time at Triple-A.

Those strong but not overwhelming numbers have led numerous teams to add and subtract him from their 40-man rosters as needs have changed, but the process has made it hard for Hassan to drive his career forward on the field. Despite the opportunity that a 40-man spot represents, he has only appeared in three big league games and has just one big league hit to his credit.

For his part, Hassan will likely be glad to have the chance to get his feet under him at Triple-A Buffalo, where he will presumably head in relatively short order. The Athletics released him recently after he finally cleared outright waivers, affording him the chance to choose his own home.

MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently analyzed the flaws in the DFA/waiver system that have led to so much movement for Hassan and others like him.


West Notes: Washington, Murphy, Castillo

The Athletics have hired former Rangers manager Ron Washington as a special instructor, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter) report. Washington, the club’s former infield coach, will not unseat current infield coach Mike Gallego. But he will work with the club’s big league players — particularly shortstop Marcus Semien, who paces the league with 15 errors thus far. Washington, of course, resigned from Texas late last year in rather dramatic fashion. He recently worked on the staff of the University of New Orleans.

Here’s more from out west:

  • In other coaching news, the Padres have reportedly declined to allow Triple-A manager Pat Murphy to depart the organization to take a major league coaching job with the Brewers, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports analyzes the decision. Though San Diego sources tell Rosenthal that the club simply wants to retain a valued employee while avoiding early-season turmoil at their top affiliate, others around the game tell him that the move is highly unusual because heading to Milwaukee would have constituted a promotion. That has led to some speculation that the Padres see Murphy as a potential coach at the MLB level — if not even a replacement option for current big league skipper Bud Black. “(Murphy) must have been made promises — big ones,” a rival executive tells Rosenthal.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon each addressed the team’s acquisition of catcher Welington Castillo yesterday, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. “It’s very challenging in this day and age to have catching depth,” said Zduriencik. “To add a catcher that has a reasonable amount of Major League experience is important to the entire organization.” McClendon, meanwhile, echoed the notion of adding depth and also emphasized that the team had no plans to insert him as the starter: “His playing time will be predicated by Zunino’s performance on the field,” McClendon said. “We’re not fooling anybody here. Mike Zunino is our everyday catcher.”

AL East Notes: Heathcott, Ellsbury, Tanaka, Blue Jays

Let’s take a quick look in at the AL East:

  • The Yankees have called up outfielder Slade Heathcott after placing Jacoby Ellsbury on the 15-day DL, as Jack Curry of the YES Network tweeted last night. For Heathcott, the opportunity represents yet another step in a remarkable turnaround. The former top-100 prospect has impressed the organization this spring since losing his 40-man roster spot and re-signing to a minor league deal. As for Ellsbury, it’s only a knee sprain at the moment, but his recovery bears watching given his injury history.
  • Meanwhile, the Yankees got more promising injury news out of starter Masahiro Tanaka, as George A. King III of the New York Post reports on Twitter. The injured hurler will make a rehab start on Thursday at Triple-A, per King.
  • It’s time for the Blue Jays to look into dealing either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion for pitching, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines. While those sluggers continue to provide low-cost power production, Sherman argues that an arm is a more pressing need for the club. Unsurprisingly, GM Alex Anthopoulos indicated that he was not inclined to move either player. It’s certainly hard to disagree that the team needs to bolster its staff if it wants to make a serious run this year, though for my money it still probably makes more sense to deal away prospects to make that happen. After all, the most likely contention scenario would be one in which Bautista and Encarnacion remained in Toronto, and either or both could always be dealt after the season to recoup any lost long-term value if things don’t pan out.

Mets Notes: Offense, Niese, Collins

Despite struggles throughout their lineup, the Mets aren’t looking at adding any bats via trade, GM Sandy Alderson tells ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. The Mets prefer to wait until David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud have returned from the disabled list before assessing any needs they may have to fill from outside the organization, Rubin writes. Both Wright and d’Arnaud could realistically return to the team within two weeks, though probably not much sooner. Alderson said a week isn’t enough time and each should require 10 to 14 days to get back.

A few more notes on the Mets to kick off Wednesday morning…

  • The Mets should clear a path for their much-ballyhooed pitching prospects to permanently join the rotation by trading Jon Niese, opines Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. However, one executive of a club that formerly had interest in Niese tells Martino that the club waited too long to move the lefty and “missed their window to get a lot for him,” as clubs are increasingly scared of Niese’s shoulder. Martino notes that the front office’s reply is that they never wanted to trade him and want Niese to pitch for them. Despite a pair of rocky performances of late, Niese’s ERA is still a perfectly acceptable 3.72, though estimators such as FIP and xFIP aren’t as bullish, calling for something more in the low-4.00s. Manager Terry Collins told Martino and other reporters following his most recent poor outing that a move to the bullpen isn’t in the cards.
  • With Noah Syndergaard and eventually Steven Matz needing rotation spots (to say nothing of the injured Rafael Montero and Dillon Gee — both of whom have made starts in 2015), the Mets do have an enviable surplus of starters. Alderson tells Rubin (Twitter link) that Super Two considerations will not play into the decision whether to keep Syndergaard on the big league roster when Gee is ready to come off the DL. Regardless of the reason, the club would seemingly risk considerable fan blowback were it to bump the prized rookie out of the rotation at this point (unless he falters).
  • That the Mets are in first place and acting the part of a contender may actually put Collins’ job in jeopardy, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Certainly, if the team maintains its status at or near the top of the division, Collins’ job would appear safe, but the team has looked more mediocre than great since its 11-game winning streak, Sherman notes. Continuing that stretch and sliding out of playoff contention would leave him as a lame duck manager (he’s signed only through 2015) whose club failed to live up to early expectations. Sherman notes that Collins has been on thin ice multiple times in the past, so it’s possible he could end up there again.
  • For all the hand-wringing over shortstop Wilmer Flores, those concerned with the team’s lineup may be missing the real issues. Flores actually rates as the team’s second most productive overall player behind Lucas Duda (by measure of fWAR). In terms of offensive numbers, the real problems lie in the early-season struggles of Michael Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy, combined with those of the club’s reserves. Other than Anthony Recker, who is now one of three catchers on the roster and has only 31 plate appearances, not a single bench player has an above-average overall batting line, with important reserve players like Ruben Tejada, John Mayberry Jr., and the since-designated Kirk Nieuwenhuis all posting rather dreadful numbers.

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Hector Olivera Discusses Signing With Dodgers

Hector Olivera is Los Angeles’ newest star, but he easily could have wound up elsewhere given the widespread interest clubs had in him.  On a conference call Tuesday evening, I asked the infielder how many teams he had serious conversations with and whether he was close to signing with any of them.

There were five teams that had interest in me [including] San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami,” Olivera said through a translator.  “But, in the end, I decided to sign with the Dodgers because I know that this is a great organization.”

Hours ago, team president Andrew Friedman told reporters that he is open to different positions for Olivera, who is said to have the ability to play second base, third base, and the corner outfield.  It appears that Olivera and Friedman are in agreement.

My whole career I played second base, but I don’t think I’m in the position to decide where I should play or to say what my preference is,” said the Cuban star when asked what position he is most comfortable playing. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to give my best…Wherever they put me, they’ll see results.”

Friedman was unwilling to put a timetable on Olivera’s Major League debut, but the player doesn’t think it’ll take all that long.  The second baseman told reporters that he’ll probably need “three or four weeks” to get ready before making the leap to L.A.  As he prepares to make the biggest transition of his professional career, he’ll do so unencumbered by any elbow trouble.  For weeks, it has been reported that Olivera was dealing with an issue in his arm, rumored to be a a slight UCL tear in his right elbow.

I don’t know where that rumor came from.  I know that there was a little bit of inflammation in my forearm…It was just fatigue in the muscle, but it wasn’t a serious problem and I don’t know where that rumor started.”


Rosenthal’s Latest: Managers, A’s, Reddick, Tulo, Astros

Earlier this week, in the wake of the Marlins’ managerial change, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the two skippers who were most obviously on the hot seat had now been dismissed. With Mike Redmond and Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke having been replaced, Rosenthal looks at four more managers who could eventually find themselves in danger of losing their jobs, listing John Gibbons (Blue Jays), Bud Black (Padres), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves) and Terry Collins (Mets) as the likeliest options. Gibbons can’t be blamed for the lack of quality relief arms he has at his disposal, Rosenthal notes, but bench coach Demarlo Hale has long been thought of as a managerial prospect and makes sense as a replacement option. Black’s Padres are struggling with pitching, and Mark Kotsay‘s name is floated by Rosenthal as someone who could be the next recently retired player to turn manager. Braves president of baseball ops John Hart isn’t as high on Gonzalez as president John Schuerholz or Bobby Cox, and there’s been some recent “internal finger-pointing,” Rosenthal hears. Collins nearly lost his job at the end of the 2014 season, he notes, and while the team is still in first place, the Mets’ managerial situation has long been volatile in nature.

Here’s more from Rosenthal…

  • In a new Notes column, Rosenthal looks at the Athletics‘ roster in the wake of a brutal start to the season. As many have pointed out, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist — each a pending free agent — would all be logical trade candidates if the team is still underperforming in July. However, Rosenthal writes that there’s no way GM Billy Beane will act quickly and sell, as he’ll first want to see how the team performs with Zobrist and closer Sean Doolittle healthy and activated from the DL. One change that won’t be coming, Rosenthal adds, is at manager. Beane and skipper Bob Melvin have a strong relationship, and it’s “exceptionally unlikely” that Melvin would be dismissed, in Rosenthal’s eyes.
  • Another possible trade chip for the A’s could be Josh Reddick, who is earning $4.1MM after his second trip through arbitration this year. The Athletics, however, resisted trade offers for Reddick all offseason, Rosenthal hears.
  • Rosenthal recently called Rockies owner Dick Monfort to discuss the recent Troy Tulowitzki trade chatter. However, when Rosenthal began asking about Tulowitzki, Monfort “quickly hung up.” The bizarre situation lends credence to wide-spread belief that Tulo, his agent and even GM Jeff Bridich have little say in whether or not the Rockies trade the face of their franchise. Rather, it’ll come down to the team owner’s wishes.
  • The Astros are considering a long list of pitchers that either are or could become available, and they’ve recently been scouting Jeff Samardzija. It remains to be seen if the Astros would be willing to part with enough to get their hands on Samardzija, though. As Rosenthal notes, some rival execs feel that the tandem pitching system the Astros use in the minors devalues their pitching prospects, though one exec told him that it actually increases the value, as it suppresses the young pitchers’ inning counts.
  • Rosenthal believes the Rays should consider trading left-hander Jake McGee to either help their rotation or another area of the team. McGee, he notes, is earning $3.55MM this season and will see that price tag sail beyond $5MM in arbitration this winter.
  • Of course, as I noted yesterday when looking at this topic, using McGee in the ninth inning would help to keep down the future earnings of Brad Boxberger, who would benefit greatly from two full seasons of saves when he heads into arbitration following the 2016 season. And, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned to me earlier today when we were chatting, left-handed relief is an area of weakness for the Rays at this time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario Rosenthal lays out came to fruition, and it’s hard to imagine that the Rays wouldn’t at least be open-minded to moving McGee.

Dodgers President Friedman On Olivera Signing

After months of anticipation, the Dodgers have finalized their agreement with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera.  The two sides first shook hands on a six-year, $62.5MM deal back in March but a few roadblocks – including visa issues – dragged the process out a bit.  Today, the i’s are dotted, the t’s are crossed, and Olivera is at long last an official member of the Dodgers.

There are still lingering questions, however, not the least of which is where Olivera will fit into the Dodgers’ big league picture with plenty of talent already at second base, third base, and the corner outfield positions.  Minutes ago on a conference call, I asked Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman if Olivera’s arrival could open things up for a potential trade down the line.

I think having as many good players as possible helps you not only in constructing your own roster, but it allows you the opportunity to talk with more teams.  If we’re ever complaining about having too much depth then that’s a good problem to have, but we’re certainly not there yet.  Adding someone that has a chance to impact the game is obviously always a good thing,” Friedman said.

Friedman clearly wasn’t looking to discuss specific trade possibilities, but one has to imagine that the Dodgers could parlay their offensive depth into pitching, particularly in the wake of rumblings that pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu could require season-ending shoulder surgery.  There’s no word yet on whether Ryu will have to go under the knife, but Friedman says that he has been bracing for the worst and planning as though he will not have Ryu the rest of the way.  The Dodgers expect to know more about the left-hander’s condition on Wednesday, and that information will shape their approach this summer.

The immediate plan for Olivera will be to work him up through the minor league system.  The infielder’s first stop will be in Arizona (for “a few days”), followed by a bump up to Oklahoma City.  Given Olivera’s age and the size of his deal, there has been a lot of talk about him making an immediate impact at the major league level.  Still, Friedman wasn’t willing to put a timetable on when the Cuban standout might join the varsity squad.

When Olivera is ready for primetime, Friedman says that the organization is open to different positions for him.  While Olivera worked out at the Dodgers academy, Friedman received reports indicating that he was taking well to both second and third base.  Olivera is also said to have the range to play in the outfield, so that could theoretically be an option for L.A.

Of course, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd outlined a bit earlier this afternoon, that versatility doesn’t exactly make his path to the Majors any clearer.  The Dodgers have Juan Uribe, Alex Guerrero, Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner all, like Olivera, capable of playing multiple infield positions.  And, starting second baseman Howie Kendrick doesn’t figure to be displaced anytime soon (he’s even been mentioned as an extension candidate).  In the outfield, Andre Ethier has looked rejuvenated this season, with Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford, Guerrero and Hernandez all serving as options as well (though Puig and Crawford are currently injured).  Versatile as he may be, Olivera joins a crowded mix of players in an intriguing logjam that figures to be addressed at some point down the line.

In addition to Olivera, the Dodgers also completed the signing of Cuban righty Pablo Millan Fernandez to a minor league contract.  Fernandez, who, according to Friedman, has an Orlando Hernandez-type windup that many Cuban pitchers are fond of, will be stretched out to be a starter.