Padres are “positioning themselves as a favorite to land” Cuban infielder Hector Olivera

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The latest report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports …

The San Diego Padres are positioning themselves as a favorite to land Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, showing a willingness to spend significant money after strong-but-failed attempts to sign Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada earlier this offseason, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The market for Olivera heated up Tuesday, with the Padres considering an offer upwards of $50 million, according to sources.

Ben Badler of Baseball America reported Tuesday that the Padres have already run Olivera through a pre-signing physical, so their negotiations with the 29-year-old Cuban defector could be pretty far along. The Braves, A’s, and Dodgers are also thought to have serious interest, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has suggested that the Marlins could be a legitimate darkhorse.

Some initial reports had Olivera seeking a contract worth more than $70 million, but that talk has quieted since he joined a more well-known sports agency. A final sum in the $50 million range seems more realistic.

Olivera was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional.

Brewers sign Gio Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have signed Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez will get a $2 million base salary with $2 million in potential performance bonuses.

Gonzalez was excellent for the Brewers down the stretch last season, posting a 2.13 ERA over his final five regular season starts. While it’s not likely he can replicate that, given how terrible Milwaukee’s rotation has been thus far — they have a 5.74 ERA as a group this season — he can’t hurt.

Not a bad landing pad for a guy who had to settle for a minor league deal with the Yankees before being released over the weekend.