The Padres are positioning themselves as a favorite for Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, considering an offer worth upwards of $50MM, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The Braves, A’s and Dodgers remain in the mix for Olivera, per Passan, but Atlanta and Oakland have balked at this level of financial commitment. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have yet to determine whether they want to make an aggressive bid for the 29-year-old Olivera.
As Passan notes, in spite of the high profile acquisitions of first-year GM A.J. Preller this winter, the Padres’ infield is a significant question mark. Scouts believe that Olivera can handle either second or third base, where the team respectively projects to start Jedd Gyorko and Will Middlebrooks.
The Padres aggressively pursued fellow Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada this offseason, with Passan noting that they were so enamored with Moncada that they offered an invite to MLB Spring Training and a chance to win a spot on the Major League roster right out of the gate.
The Dodgers have Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe slated to play second and third base, respectively, this season, but both are free agents at season’s end. The question in signing Olivera would be where to play him in the interim, as scouts believe that he’s capable of stepping into a Major League lineup almost immediately and providing excellent OBP marks with 15 to 20 home run power.
It’s been a heavy day in terms of Olivera news, with reports indicating that the Padres (along with the Dodgers and Braves) have already performed physicals on Olivera. The Braves are said to have made an offer for Olivera, though based on Passan’s report, it doesn’t seem like their offer is of the same magnitude as the offer currently being weighed by the Padres. Earlier this morning it was also reported that Olivera had fired his previous agents and signed on with Greg Genske of the Legacy Agency.