Dodgers finalize contracts with Cuban defectors Hector Olivera and Pablo Fernandez

27 Comments

Back in late March, it was reported that the Dodgers had agreed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera and an $8 million minor league contract with right-hander Pablo Fernandez. But because the two are Cuban defectors, it took a little while for all of the parties involved to sort out the necessary paperwork.

The wait finally ended on Tuesday afternoon, per the Dodgers’ official Twitter account

Eury de la Rosa, a 25-year-old left-hander, was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Olivera, who will head to extended spring training for a couple of weeks but could join the Dodgers at some point in early-to-mid June. It’s not clear at this point how he’s going to fit on the Los Angeles depth chart, but these things tend to sort themselves out over time. Olivera, 30, was a 323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He can play all around the infield defensively.

Fernandez, a 25-year-old with a well-developed arsenal of pitches, will also head to extended spring training in Arizona before joining one of the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates. He worked primarily as a relief pitcher in his native Cuba, but the Dodgers are expected to try him as a starter first. Fernandez posted a promising 2.83 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings during the 2013-2014 season in Serie Nacional.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
AP Images
7 Comments

Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.