Cuban star Hector Olivera defects to sign with MLB team


He won’t get the same type of massive payday that Cuban slugger Yosmani Tomas seems headed for, but Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has defected with an eye toward signing with an MLB team.

Ben Badler of Baseball America rates Olivera as the sixth-best player still in Cuba, but says “that evaluation comes with a huge level of uncertainty given Olivera’s recent health history”

He missed an entire season with thrombosis in his left biceps and hasn’t played in international competition since then, but Olivera hit .316 with an .886 OPS and more walks than strikeouts this season. And he has some monster numbers in previous seasons.

However, he spent a lot of time at designated hitter and turns 30 years old soon, so it’s unclear if MLB teams will view him as a viable middle infielder or not at this point.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.