The Los Angeles Dodgers have agree to sign Cuban free-agent infielder Hector Olivera to a six-year, $62.5 million contract, his agent Greg Genske confirmed to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The news was first reported by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Olivera, who turns 30 on April 5, played mostly at second base in Cuba but teams reportedly see him as a third baseman in the majors.
Olivera missed two months of the 2011–12 season with a blood clot in his non-throwing arm. He began taking blood thinners to treat the issue, but doctors forbid him from playing baseball while on the medication. He missed the entire 2012–13 season as a result.
Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported earlier this month that Olivera could have damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. If Olivera requires Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers will reportedly get a seventh season on his contract at $1 million.
Olivera was one of the premier sluggers in Cuba's Serie Nacional. His peak season was in 2011–12, when he batted .341 with 17 home runs.
“He’s big, strong and geared to take stuff the other way,” one unnamed international scout told Baseball America. “It’s a closed-off stance with looseness to the hands but lightning bat speed to get to balls on the inside, and he has an advanced plan. He’s pretty advanced in his control of the strike zone. He’s going to have success.”
- Dan Gartland