A long new article by Baseball America’s Ben Badler assesses the current market for Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, who reportedly is expecting to land a contract of $70MM or more. Badler lists three teams that currently stand out as front-runners to sign Olivera, suggesting that other teams who have been connected to him, like the Yankees, Giants, Mariners and Athletics, now look less likely.
- The Padres have been aggressive in their pursuit of Olivera. Badler writes that Olivera would be an upgrade for the Padres at either second (where the Padres currently have Jedd Gyorko) or third (where they have Yangervis Solarte and Will Middlebrooks). Gyorko is currently signed to a long-term deal, but as Badler notes, GM A.J. Preller is unlikely to feel too attached to a player who was signed under previous management.
- The Braves have scouted Olivera heavily, and are connected to Olivera’s trainer Rudy Santin, who also has worked with recent Braves signee Dian Toscano.
- The problem for the Dodgers is where Olivera would fit in the near term, since they have Howie Kendrick at second base and Juan Uribe at third. Both players are eligible for free agency after the season, however, and the ability to use Olivera (who played most of last season as a DH) in a part-time role might ease concerns about whether he can handle a 162-game season. When top Dodgers brass were present to watch him in workouts, Olivera only played third, perhaps suggesting that’s where they would ultimately use him.