Dodgers land Cuban infielder Olivera for six years
$62.5 million deal includes $28 million bonus
By Jesse Sanchez
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has agreed to a $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers, according to an industry source.
The club has not confirmed the agreement, which includes a $28 million signing bonus.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman would not discuss the reported agreements with Olivera or Cuban pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez. Those signings are reportedly pending the passing of physicals, and possibly the processing of work visas.
Friedman did address the market for Cuban players in general, and the aggressiveness the Dodgers have shown since landing Yasiel Puig 2 1/2 years ago, reversing previous ownership's abandonment of signing top Caribbean players for nearly a decade.
"When solving for winning, we have to cast a wide net," Friedman said. "We will do as good a job as we can all over the world. When we find a fit -- short or long term -- we will be aggressive."
Friedman wouldn't say if the speculated signings would impact the Major League roster in 2015.
However, Olivera's ability to play multiple infield positions will bolster the roster long term considering that starting infielders Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe are eligible for free agency after this season. With top prospect Corey Seager lined up to take over shortstop, Olivera could be slotted into third base or second base.
The Yankees, Braves, Marlins, Giants and Padres had expressed strong interest in signing Olivera.
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 15-20 home runs and drive in 75 runs from the middle of a lineup in what would be his rookie year.
Olivera can also play third base, which was appealing to clubs.
Olivera will be 30 on April 5, and some scouts expressed concern 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 report, calling it untrue and saying that the infielder passed physical examinations by four teams.
According to an industry source, though, a recent MRI on Olivera's elbow showed a slight tear in the UCL. His contract includes a clause that gives the team a seventh season at $1 million if he needs Tommy John surgery.
One thing is certain: Scouts rave about Olivera's tools and international experience, and they agree that he can help a Major League club immediately.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. MLB.com's Ken Gurnick contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.