In a move that sets off a bomb in the competitive National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Cuban free agent Hector Olivera to a 6-year deal worth $62.5 million. The deal includes a $28 million signing bonus.
With the Padres, Braves, Athletics, Giants and Dodgers reportedly bidding right up until recently, the infielder chose a Dodgers team loaded with Cuban talent, having already signed Cuban stars Yasiel Puig and Alex Guerrero. Olivera is expected to be a big contributor with his bat, with major league level hitting and power.
His career BB/K in Cuba was an extremely solid 1.43. The average BB/K from Cuban from players who made it to MLB is just 0.70, and no major league player from Cuba owned a career BB/K better than 0.95 before coming to the US.
As recently as yesterday, Olivera’s agent Greg Genske had said the decision hadn’t been made yet but multiple reports expected something before Wednesday. CBS had reported the Braves offered a 4-year, $40 million contract, but this deal obviously shows that the going rate for the expected third baseman (who can also play other infield positions or left field) was much higher than that. The Marlins reportedly offered seven years but for “only” $53 million.
There is no information as to whether Los Angeles would start him right away or phase him in over time. The Dodgers do have a number of expiring infield contacts at the end of the season, so this deal was made to give them stability over time as much as it was to keep Olivera out of division competitors hands.
The Dodgers had Olivera get an MRI two weeks ago over concerns with his UCL but obviously saw nothing of great concern.
In Olivera’s final season in Serie Nacional he hit .316/.412/.474.