Earlier today, Cuban free agent infielder Hector Olivera reportedly struck a six-year, $62.5MM agreement with the Dodgers. A late entrant onto the free agent market, Olivera ultimately landed the ninth-largest guarantee of the offseason.
Here are some reactions to the signing:
- The Dodgers’ move for Olivera was set in motion, in part, by other international happenings, says Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com (links to Twitter). After losing righty Yoan Lopez to the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers elected not to incur future spending restrictions by going after Yoan Moncada. The club then turned its focus to inking Olivera and Pablo Hernandez, neither of whom was subject to spending caps. But that leaves Los Angeles positioned as the “team to beat” for pitchers Yadier Alvarez and Vladimir Gutierrez in the next signing period, says Gammons.
- Olivera represents a move that prioritizes roster flexibility, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, but also demonstrates that the Dodgers will seek to marry advanced analysis with budgetary muscle. It remains to be seen how things will play out, of course, but Passan says that the rest of the league is on notice: the Dodgers are intent upon a long-term strategy as both the smartest and the richest organization in the game.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs voices a similar sentiment, positing that Olivera is unlikely to offer much of an upgrade to the club for 2015, if he does at all. Instead, the club was able to plunk down a large amount of cash in order to prepare for 2016 and beyond.
- The club’s long-term plans for Olivera are not dependent upon whether top prospect Corey Seager can stick at the shortstop position in the long run, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Olivera is believed to be capable of playing at second, third, or first, making him a flexible option depending upon where Seager ends up. The club currently employs pending free agents up the middle and at the hot corner, so figures to have plenty of options in charting a course after seeing how things progress in 2015.
- Los Angeles primarily sees Olivera as a third baseman, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. To some extent, the club was buying at that position early given its evaluation of next year’s free agent class at third, says Sherman.
- Of course, it remains to be seen what that means for incumbent Juan Uribe and the rest of the infield mix for the present season. While Uribe could conceivably move to a utility role, such a move would have implications for fellow infielders Justin Turner, Alex Guerrero, and Enrique Hernandez (and, in turn, the team’s already-full slate of outfielders). Needless to say, the Dodgers figure to remain busy over the coming months and beyond.