1. Figure Out What to Do with Hector Olivera
In a bit of an unexpected move, the Atlanta Braves traded away LHP Alex Wood, closer Jim Johnson, minor-league infielder Jose Peraza, injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and reliever Luis Avilan to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Hector Olivera, as well as a few other minor league prospects. The Braves, who were the team that lost out to the Dodgers in the bid to get Olivera, finally got the guy they wanted. Now that Olivera is a part of the Braves roster, the team must decide what they are going to do with him going forward.
As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Olivera was slated as either a third baseman or second baseman in the minor leagues. While the Braves have a potential opening at third base, with second base being filled by Jace Peterson, the Braves apparently intend to shift Olivera to the outfield.
The Braves are transitioning Hector Olivera to the outfield; Atlanta coach Bo Porter working with him now on his defense.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2015
What this means for the Braves is two-fold. The Braves intend to transition a long-time infielder, who is 30 years of age, to a brand new position in just one offseason. Other than being a bit of a tall task by itself, the Braves have now tipped their hands a bit on their future plans. It is fairly obvious that the early returns on Olivera’s play at third base weren’t good, so the Braves took the initiative to shift Olivera to left field full time before too much developmental time is wasted. Olivera is now added to the log jam in the outfield, including several high-price veterans nearing the ends of their careers, and also opens up third base for fellow 30-year-old veteran, Adonis Garcia.
Beyond keeping Olivera as the left fielder of the future, the Braves also have the option of flipping him this offseason for a similar haul that the Dodgers extracted from the Braves at last year’s trade deadline. The Braves sought highly after Olivera, but could be inclined to trade him if the return is just right. Trading away one potential starter for another two or three may be something that is better for the Braves’ short and long term future. This is even more so true, given the concerns about Olivera’s age, various injury problems and potential inadequacies in his game.