On Tuesday it was announced that Hector Olivera was officially with the Dodgers organisation in a press conference with the head of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman.
Olivera played in the Cuban league with the Santiago de Cuba team from when he was 17 up until 2012, at the age of 27. In his 10 seasons he hit for .323 batting average with 96 homeruns and 433 RBIs.
Although the 30 year old has signed a major league contract, worth 62.5 million dollars; including a 28 million signing bonus which he will receive on 5 days, Hector will start in Single A Rancho Cucamonga for “a few games” and then send him onto AAA Oklahoma and will stay there until he is MLB ready.
At this point it’s premature to speculate [when Olivera will be MLB-ready]. We’ve seen it with guys in the past, it’s hard to miss Spring Training and come out at hit the ground running, but everyone’s different and I don’t know the answer to that right now.
The breakdown of his contract is as follows:
2015: $2 million
2016: $4 million
2017: $6 million
2018: $6.5 million
2019: $7.5 million
2020: $8.5 million
+ $28 million singing bonus
Position wise, Friedman didn’t seem to lock him into any one position but only said that the infielder has taken balls at all 4 positions on the dirt. Although most people and scout have him as a third baseman, this could lead to some crowding with Uribe, Turner, Guerrero, Seager and now Olivera all being able to play third.
There has also been some speculation over his right elbow and the possibility of Tommy John surgery being needed in the future. The Dodgers covered that base too,
Los Angeles has a $1 million conditional option for 2021 that can be exercised if Olivera has Tommy John surgery on his right elbow or has right elbow surgery attributable to an ulnar collateral ligament injury that causes him to be on the disabled list for more than 100 days during any one-year span.
Along with Olivera the Dodgers also picked up another Cuban by the name of Pablo Millan Fernandez. He is a pitcher, who the Dodgers plan to make into a starter and could be in LA by the end of the year. Like Hector though, Pablo will be going to the training campo in AZ then onto Rancho Cucamonga at the same time.
The Dodger farm system is becoming one of the best in baseball and there are exciting times ahead for LA. Olivera and his Cuban counterpart Pablo Millan Fernandez will help this even more.