Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas commanded a $68.5 million contract from the Diamondbacks in November and Yoan Moncada has been drawing most of the headlines lately, but Hector Olivera appears poised to beat his fellow countrymen at the signing table.
According to Peter Gammons of MLB Network and MLB.com, there are “five teams over $70 million” on the 29-year-old Olivera, who was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Olivera played primarily at second base in Cuba, but the Dodgers — who are known to have serious interest — would likely ask him to play third base. The Braves, Giants, Athletics, Padres, Rangers, and Yankees are some of the other clubs that have been connected to him.
Olivera is still waiting to be cleared for MLB free agency, though that should be coming soon.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.