Tag: INT

hector olivera getty

Braves, Padres, and Dodgers considered favorites to land Hector Olivera


Cuban infielder Hector Olivera was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Friday. Baseball America’s Ben Badler considers the Braves, Padres, and Dodgers the favorites to land the 29-year-old’s services. A recent report indicated he could garner a deal north of $70 million.

Olivera was in the news recently after a report surfaced that he had damaged the UCL in his elbow, but his representatives vehemently denied the report.

Across 10 seasons in the Cuban National Series, Olivera batted .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBI in 3,269 plate appearances.

Cuban infielder Hector Olivera expects to receive a deal north of $70 million

Hector Olivera Getty

Cuban infielder Hector Olivera was officially declared a free agent by MLB yesterday and his representatives are aiming high in contract talks.

Executives from two teams involved in the bidding told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that Olivera’s representatives expect to land a deal north of $70 million. If that’s the case, teams apparently aren’t scared off by the recent report that Olivera could have a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. Olivera’s camp has refuted the report and told Ben Badler of Baseball America that he has passed four physicals.

As opposed to Yoan Moncada, Olivera is not a young player. He’ll be 30 in April, so if healthy, he’s someone who could contribute in the majors right away. He’s also not subject to international draft pools. Rusney Castillo’s $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox is the current record for an international free agent, but it seems like Olivera’s representatives believe that he has a chance to match or surpass it. The Dodgers and Yankees are among the teams who have shown interest in him.

Injury concerns aside, Olivera posted an impressive .323/.407/.505 batting line over 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago in Serie Nacional. He could be an option to play second base or third base in MLB.

MLB declares Hector Olivera a free agent

South Africa v Cuba - World Baseball Classic - Mexico City Day 1

Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. That means Olivera is free to negotiate and sign with any team at any time. He’s expected to garner a contract in the $50-70 million range.

The Dodgers, Braves, Padres, Athletics, Yankees, and Giants are believed to have the most interest in Olivera at this time. Olivera, who defected from Cuba last September, will turn 30 years old on April 5. He has batted .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBI across 10 seasons in the Cuban National Series.

Olivera was believed to have suffered a UCL injury but his representatives refuted the claim, saying he passed four physicals per Baseball America’s Ben Badler.

Hector Olivera’s camp denies any damage to ulnar collateral ligament

Hector Olivera Getty

UPDATE: Ben Badler of Baseball America got a stronger response from Olivera’s camp, who said that the report about possible UCL damage in his elbow is “absolutely not true.” Additionally, they say that he has taken for physicals and passed them all.

7:33 p.m. ET: According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, representatives for Hector Olivera “were surprised” to hear about Passan’s report and weren’t aware of any ligament damage in the elbow. They also said that he feels fine. This doesn’t necessarily clear anything up, though.

7:11 p.m. ET: After Yoan Moncada reached a deal with the Red Sox, the next big name Cuban player to sign with an MLB team was expected to be infielder Hector Olivera. However, it’s safe to say that his market just hit a bit of a snag. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has the story:

Serious concern exists that Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm, potentially hindering the market for a free agent who many expected to contribute in the major leagues this season, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Olivera, 29, recently underwent physicals for a number of teams in anticipation of Major League Baseball clearing him to sign. The market for Olivera swelled following a strong series of showcases and private workouts in which the right-handed hitter showed the powerful bat that made him a star second baseman in Cuba.

According to Passan, Olivera already has one offer in hand for more than $50 million. However, a damaged UCL and the possibility of Tommy John surgery would almost certainly change things.

Of course, position players don’t need as much time to rehab from Tommy John surgery as pitchers, but it would still likely cost Olivera around 6-9 months. That would rule him out for all of 2015. And this isn’t a young player we are talking about here. He’ll be 30 this April.

Olivera batted some injuries toward the end of his time in Cuba, missing the entire 2012-13 season due to thrombosis in his left biceps, but he has done nothing but hit when healthy. He compiled a .323/.407/.505 batting line over 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago in Serie Nacional.

Baseball is actually dying, you guys! In Cuba.


After linking out the first three entries of Jorge Arangure’s wonderful Cuba Diaries over at Vice, I somehow missed one. There are now five total. You can read all of them here. The two latest entries:

1. Baseball may actually be dying in Cuba. At least Jorge thinks so. Why? Kids like soccer more. And baseball’s structure is so strict and formalized, it is losing out to the new and the cool, two commodities that are and will continue to be in increasing supply in Cuba; and

2. Carlos Tabares: the Cuban Derek Jeter. A big star in Cuban baseball in the 1990s 2000s who is still playing today. But a star who, at 40, is too old to have taken advantage of the opportunities now opening up for the Yoan Moncadas and Yasiel Puigs of the world. In this he reflects and entire generation of Cuban people — people in their 40s and 50s — who experienced the nadir of Cuba’s economy and will be too old to truly take advantage of the New Cuba, whatever that ends up looking like.

Like the three other installments of this series, these two are not to be missed.