Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera is set to host an open showcase at the Giants’ facility in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 21-22, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 29-year-old second baseman is one of the top international prospects on the market but is not yet eligible to sign with clubs due to the fact that he has not been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or by Major League Baseball.
Representatives from the majority of Major League clubs should likely be expected to attend, as this will be many scouts’ first opportunity to see Olivera in-person in several years. Olivera missed the entire 2012-13 season in Cuba with what his club said was a blood disorder, and he also sat out from many international tournaments in that span. He returned to Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2013-14 and batted .316/.412/.474 in 273 plate appearances, although as Badler cautions, Olivera played second base in just 29 of his 90 games, appearing at DH in all of the others.
Olivera’s age and experience as a professional in Serie Nacional will make him exempt from international spending limitations once he is ultimately declared a free agent by the league and OFAC. It’s not clear at this time, however, exactly what type of contract the soon-to-be 30-year-old will command.
Badler notes that earlier in the offseason, he heard both the Padres and A’s mentioned as possible fits for Olivera. San Diego may not be as strong a fit for Olivera as it was a few weeks ago, however, as the Padres have added Will Middlebrooks to the mix at third base,. One would assume that Jedd Gyorko would have slid over to the hot corner eventually if Olivera were to play second base for the Friars.
From a purely speculative standpoint, I can also see the Nationals, Angels, Blue Jays and White Sox as fits based on team need, as each has some uncertainty surrounding their second base incumbent. The Sox are admittedly an imperfect fit, as they just signed Emilio Bonifacio and have the well-regarded Micah Johnson waiting in the wings, but from a 2015 standpoint, Bonifacio could simply be used in a super utility capacity.