J.P. Hoonstra of the Los Angeles News Group reports that the Dodgers have signed veteran catcher Miguel Olivo to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Olivo batted just .203 with a .642 OPS and 23 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances last season for the Marlins. He walked out on the team in June after they refused to grant his request for release and spent the rest of the summer at home.
A.J. Ellis is ticketed to start for the Dodgers at catcher and Tim Federowicz is expected to be the backup, so Olivo is a longshot to crack Los Angeles’ Opening Day roster or make any sort of meaningful impact for the club in 2014. The 35-year-old is a .241/.275/.417 career hitter at the major league level. His career-best season was 2009, when he tallied 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 114 games with the Royals.
The Dodgers also signed 25-year-old catcher Geoff Erickson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. He has never appeared in a major league game.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.