Olivera declared a free agent; signing could come soon

Olivera declared a free agent; signing could come soon

Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Friday, and he could come to an agreement with a team as early as Sunday, according to industry sources.

The Yankees, Dodgers, Braves, Marlins and Padres have all shown strong interest in signing him.

Olivera will be 30 on April 5, and some scouts have expressed concerns about offering him a long-term deal because of his age. He also overcame a blood disorder that sidelined him from play in Cuba's top league, Serie Nacional. A recent report by Yahoo Sports claims there is serious concern that Olivera has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.

Olivera's representatives refuted the Yahoo Sports report, calling it untrue and claiming that Olivera has already passed physical examinations by four teams.

One thing is certain: Scouts rave about Olivera's tools and international experience, and agree that he can help a Major League club immediately.

One of the most prolific offensive players in Cuba when healthy, Olivera wowed scouts in open showcases and private workouts in the Dominican Republic last month, underscoring the notion that he can hit at least 15 to 20 home runs and drive in 75 runs from the middle of a lineup in what would be his rookie year.

Olivera can play second and third base on the Major League level, which is also appealing to clubs.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.