The Padres have requested release waivers on infielder Hector Olivera, per a club announcement. He had been formally designated for assignment back on Aug. 2, and his release will become official in 48 hours once he clears said waivers.
San Diego acquired Olivera’s contract from the Braves in exchange for Matt Kemp prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, but the acquisition was a formality. The Padres very clearly wanted nothing to do with Olivera, who was finishing up an 82-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy at the time, and only agreed to take on his contract as a means of off-setting some of the money they were sending to Atlanta in the form of Kemp’s salary. Ultimately, the trade will save San Diego about $25.5MM, and Olivera will never suit up in a Padres uniform.
The 31-year-old Olivera’s future in Major League Baseball is questionable at best, from this point forth. Neither Atlanta nor San Diego even feigned interest in having Olivera join their active rosters following his suspension, and it stands to reason that others throughout the league will take a similar approach. Olivera was arrested at a Washington D.C.-area hotel back in April and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a woman who was reportedly hospitalized and had visible bruising.
While the 2016 season has seen both Aroldis Chapman and Jose Reyes land new jobs after serving suspensions under the same policy, neither wound up going to trial — Chapman was never even arrested — which very likely helped their cases. Furthermore, Olivera has never been a productive player at the minor league or Major League level. And while on-field success would in no way excuse the heinous actions for which he was arrested and charged, his chances of finding additional employment within a Major League organization would be greater had he in any way justified the ill-fated six-year, $62.5MM contract to which he was signed by the Dodgers.
If, for some reason, another club does decide to take a chance on Olivera with what would assuredly be a minor league contract, that club would be responsible only for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time he spends in the Majors. (That sum would be subtracted from the remainder of what he is owed by San Diego.) However, it also seems possible that Olivera’s career in Major League Baseball has come to an abrupt end.