The Dodgers have landed another highly coveted Cuban prospect in Hector Olivera.
Los Angeles came to terms with the infielder on a six year, $62.5 million deal, besting other suitors who were on his trail and could badly use his services and skills on their roster. All there is left to do before this deal becomes official is a physical in which he must take and pass, which should not be a problem.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Dodgers and their NL West rival Padres were the real serious contenders for Olivera for his services. Both franchises had the same need in wanting to acquire another player that they could develop in their farm system and become a homegrown star with the possibility that they could build the franchise around in the future.
As always it comes down to who has the most money available and resources, once again LA is king on both of those fronts over San Diego and used it to their advantage to strike a deal with Olivera.
Padres fans should not be too heartbroken about this. The fact that the franchise was able to be in the serious running for an elite player of Olivera’s stature is a sign that the new regime is making headway and trying its best efforts to acquire talent from any and every possible place they can find. Though they lost out on this bidding, they have sent a message to the rest of baseball that they will be real contenders in future prospects that come up for bidding.
For the Dodgers it is another player they can now put down on their farm system and see him develop and what he can be best suited for in terms of helping the big club in the long term. Yes it is a lot of money to give to a player who has not even put on the Dodger uniform yet let alone play a game for them but his upside is huge and he can be a big star for the Dodgers if he develops and grows his game as he is expected to in the coming years. Now there is no expectation that he will ascend like Puig did a few years ago but he has the chance to get through the farm system at a quick pace if he stays healthy.
Olivera is seen as a player who will mostly be a third baseman in his major league career but also has the talent and skill to play second base and right field if the team needed one of those other spots filled. His acumen for being able to play third base will come in handy after this upcoming season, Los Angeles will need that spot to be filled in with a starter who can give them some power and consistency with the bat and very sharp defensively.
Olivera from all accounts fits both of those bills since he hit .316 in 228 at bats during the 2013 season. He also has been seen as a player who can cover a lot of ground in the infield and has a fairly strong throwing arm to make the routine plays. His arm did come into question, specifically his UCL; scouts who have seen him in person say he is throwing just fine. That should ease any concern in the Dodgers front office.
So with their latest acquisition, the Dodgers continue to be the franchise that is able to reel in high end Cuban prospects and for their sake hope to be a mainstay in terms of making them into superstars for the franchise.