4:30pm: The Dodgers have officially announced the signing of Olivera to a six-year contract. Los Angeles also officially announced the signing of Cuban righty Pablo Millan Fernandez to a minor league contract — a previously reported signing that was said at the time to include an $8MM bonus.
12:16pm: Olivera is scheduled to work out in Arizona for a few weeks before beginning a minor league assignment, Rosenthal tweets.
11:57am: Much-hyped Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has passed his physical with the Dodgers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Presumably, an official announcement of his signing will be forthcoming in relatively short order.
Olivera, 29, reportedly inked a six-year, $62.5MM deal with Los Angeles back in March after something of a roller coaster of a signing process. The deal is said to include a clause that would grant the club an option for a seventh season in the event that Olivera requires Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
The signing has, if anything, grown all the more interesting given developments in the interim. The Dodgers already looked to be loaded at second, third, and the corner outfield — Olivera’s potential positions — before reaching the deal. While Juan Uribe has struggled offensively, players like Justin Turner, Alex Guerrero, Enrique Hernandez, and Scott Van Slyke have been remarkably productive off the bench. (And that’s all before considering starters Howie Kendrick and Andre Ethier, who have been excellent, and a variety of other options in the infield and outfield.)
Olivera, obviously, was signed more as a long-term piece than to fill an immediate need. But given his age and salary commitment, it would be surprising if he does not receive a look at the big league level this year. That being said, the club’s array of options leave it in no rush to speed his progress, and Olivera will presumably be afforded plenty of time to adapt to the professional game and prepare for big league action.
With the deal set to hit the books, though, we can begin to look forward to a time when the roster crunch becomes all the more pressing. The Dodgers could well be on the market for pitching, and one wonders whether one or more of the team’s many interesting position players could be parlayed into arms.