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.