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2015 Dodgers review: Hector Olivera, the import/export

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Photo: LA Dodgers

We are reviewing one player per day to recount the 2015 Dodgers season, ending on Dec. 31. That means 73 different reviews are coming your way. The Dodgers set a record for players used this season, but that record was 55, which means 18 of these reviews will be of players who never actually played for the team in 2015. But the other 18 did at one point occupy a spot on the Dodgers' 40-man roster since the end of the 2014 season, including imported Cuban infielder Hector Olivera.

What went right

The reported UCL injury that was feared before Olivera signed never came to fruition.

After a 1-for-10 start in his first three games with Double-A Tulsa, the 30-year-old Cuban import went 18-for-43 (.419) over his next 10 games with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

But that was pretty much it for Olivera as a Dodger, who outside of six rehab games in Arizona was sidelined for the next eight weeks with a hamstring strain.

Olivera got his first big league action with the Braves, hitting .253/.310/.405 with four doubles and two home runs in 24 games.

What went wrong

Olivera was delayed by his hamstring, and his eventual Dodgers debut ended up not happening, as he was traded to Atlanta as the biggest piece dealt by the Dodgers in a three-team, 13-player trade that included Miami.

Signed to a $62.5 million, six-year contract in May, Olivera will end up receiving $28 million of that as a signing bonus by the end of 2015. So the Dodgers ended up paying nearly $30 million for a player who will never play for them, something most people won't be able to get past, like the reflexive $300 million payroll cries without deeper investigation.

In reality, Olivera mostly represented an economics lesson, one in which the Dodgers utilized their most abundant asset — cash — in order to add talent — Mat Latos and Jim Johnson were disasters, but Alex Wood, Jose Peraza and Luis Avilan were long-term adds — without giving up much in the way of players, with an injured Paco Rodriguez the second-best player given up by the Dodgers.

Mostly, the Olivera deal was a reallocation of resources that were already committed.

2015 particulars

Age: 30

Stats: .358/.393/.528, 2 HR in 13 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Salary: $2 million, plus a $28 million signing bonus.

Game of the year

Olivera had two four-hit games with Oklahoma City, but I'll choose his two-hit game on June 11 with Double-A Tulsa, because that game was televised by CBS Sports Network, a rare chance for Dodgers fans to see him play. There is no video of that game that I could fine, but here was his first professional hit, from June 5:

Honorable mention goes to his Sept. 22 game with the Braves, hitting a three-run home run to give Atlanta the lead in an eventual 6-2 win over the Mets, which ultimately helped the Dodgers secure home field advantage in the NLDS, which... never mind.

Roster status

Olivera is no longer a Dodger, but signed for five more years, through 2020, at $32.5 million total.