Interesting update this evening from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who hears that the Dodgers recently requested a second MRI on the elbow of free agent Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. It’s believed that the request was initially declined.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported a week ago that Olivera could have ulnar collateral ligament damage in his elbow and might require Tommy John surgery. That report was denied by Olivera’s camp, but the 29-year-old has since hired Greg Genske of Legacy Agency to represent him and questions obviously remain about his health.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported earlier today that the Marlins backed off a seven-year, $53 million offer for Olivera after hearing that the Dodgers offered $77 million, but he also noted that those offers were made to his old agent. One would think that he would already be with the Dodgers if that lucrative offer was legitimate, so it’s hard to know what to believe here. Still, Heyman was told by one GM that $70-plus million for Olivera wouldn’t be crazy “if he’s healthy.”
The two sides reached an agreement late last month, but the Red Sox just officially announced that they have signed Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a minor league contract. The team will hold an introductory press conference tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET, per FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.
The Red Sox will reportedly give Moncada a bonus of $31.5 million, which smashes the previous record for an international amateur under the current system. The Diamondbacks briefly held that distinction when they gave $8.27 million to right-hander Yoan Lopez in January. The Red Sox will also have to pay a 100-percent tax for exceeding their international bonus pool, so the total outlay for signing him will be $63 million. They have until July 15 to pay the tax and up to three years to pay the bonus.
It’s a big price to pay for a 19-year-old, but Moncada drew raves from scouts and Ben Badler of Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in the game. He’s expected to find a home at second base, third base, or the outfield in pro ball and some believe he could make his way to the majors as soon as next season.
The latest from Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com …
Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera is considering several offers in the four- to six-year range, and the infielder could come to terms with a team this week, according to industry sources.
The Dodgers, Braves, Marlins, Padres, A’s and Giants have all shown a strong interest in signing the 29-year-old, sources said.
The expectation is Olivera will get around $50 million. Initial reports had him seeking more than $70 million, but we didn’t hear much of that after he switched agents last week, from Rudy Santin and Manny Paula to Greg Genske of the Legacy Sports Agency.
Olivera was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports heard a week ago that there was serious concern from some teams about the structure of Olivera’s throwing-arm elbow, but multiple sources have since refuted that report.
The latest report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports …
The San Diego Padres are positioning themselves as a favorite to land Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, showing a willingness to spend significant money after strong-but-failed attempts to sign Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada earlier this offseason, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The market for Olivera heated up Tuesday, with the Padres considering an offer upwards of $50 million, according to sources.
Ben Badler of Baseball America reported Tuesday that the Padres have already run Olivera through a pre-signing physical, so their negotiations with the 29-year-old Cuban defector could be pretty far along. The Braves, A’s, and Dodgers are also thought to have serious interest, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has suggested that the Marlins could be a legitimate darkhorse.
Some initial reports had Olivera seeking a contract worth more than $70 million, but that talk has quieted since he joined a more well-known sports agency. A final sum in the $50 million range seems more realistic.
Olivera was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional.
Fox’s Jon Morosi reports that the Braves have made a contract offer to Cuban infielder Hector Olivera.
No word on any other teams making offers, but the Padres and Dodgers are said to be in the hunt as well.
Olivera, 29, played 10 seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he batted .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBI in 3,269 plate appearances. He’s expected to snag a deal in the range of upwards of $70 million.