This is Why The Dodgers Signed Hector Olivera

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Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dodgers signed 30 year old Cuban defector Hector Olivera, people weren’t enamored with the move. For all of the talk of his individual talent, there wasn’t a place for him to play and that seemed like a classic “waste of resources” type of signing.

All things being right, Olivera was to create a roster crunch sometime after Spring Training, likely in April which would put pressure on the team to play him because he is the most expensive Cuban the Dodgers have ever invested in.

Of course, things never, ever, ever, ever, go “right”, and sometimes situations like these happen, via Bill Shaikin

"Olivera is still in the Dominican Republic waiting to acquire a visa that would allow him to travel to the U.S. Even upon arriving, Olivera will need to complete a rigorous physical, due to the questionable state of his right elbow. After that, the Dodgers will option him to the Minor Leagues in order to evaluate his prowess at both second base and third base, and possibly first base as well, per Shaikin."

Without putting too much worry behind this, it’s pretty evident that Olivera isn’t going to be getting 500 PA’s this season, heck it’d be an upset if he saw time with the big league club before the Summer months.

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  • It’s a bit of a bummer, but it isn’t a huge surprise, fans were asking what will become of Alex Guerrero considering the bench is mostly set, and the answer is nothing. Guerrero gets a shot to impress and keep a spot on the Dodgers 25 man roster (or improve his trade value), Olivera gets time to acclimate to the game, the team gets to see how well Olivera handles 3b/2b/1b while he gets his reps in.

    The timeframe is the most important part, the Dodgers knew they couldn’t offer Hector a guaranteed starting job in 2015, but considering that Olivera didn’t even sign a major league contract until March 24th, the Dodgers have ample amounts of time to get him ready/evaluate him. Starting a traditional Spring Training program (substituted with minor league games) for a player, today, takes him all the way through the middle of May at best. Add in the fact that he still needs to pass a physical and get a visa to let him travel outside of the Dominican Republic. That idea that he probably won’t be a factor until the Summer seems like a pretty reasonable expectation after all.

    The Olivera signing wasn’t made so he would help right away, they added an infield piece that might help this season while also finishing up a large part of their Christmas shopping for 2016 (8 months early). The Dodgers using their financial muscle for the right to not give up significant resources for Evan Longoria, or overpay for David Freese, or employ 37 year old Juan Uribe as a starter is a good thing. Olivera won’t be in the big leagues anytime soon, and that’s fine.

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