GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the parties involved in the Hector Olivera pursuit continue to dance, the Dodgers' interest in the Cuban infielder remains clear. But with so much conflicting information out there, it's time to try to decipher what's real and what is not.
Things reached a fever pitch on Thursday when Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted this:
On first glance, it seems that if Olivera has a $77 million offer, especially one that is $24 million more in guaranteed money than the next highest offer, he would have signed already.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported earlier Thursday that Olivera was in the stage of fielding offers, some of four years and some of six years. It seems reasonable to assume that, if those four offers listed by Spencer are real that the Dodgers' deal is six years and the other three are four years, putting them all in roughly the same range of average annual value.
But that doesn't change the Dodgers' relative strength, with two more guaranteed years added.
We saw initial reports of 19-year-old Cuban sensation Yoan Moncada getting a bonus potentially as high as $40-50 million, plus a 100-percent tax for surpassing international bonus pools. He ended up signing for $31.5 million with the Red Sox.
Olivera, who is not subject to international bonus pool limits, has been reported to want a deal better than Rusney Castillo signed with Boston (seven years, $72.5 million) and what Yasmany Tomas signed with the Diamondbacks (six years, $68.5 million). If the Dodgers have an offer of $77 million out there, that beats those deals and again, it seems he would have signed it by now.
Assuming Olivera can lift his arm to sign the deal, that is.
There is concern over Olivera's health, with a blood clot in his left arm that wiped out a season two years ago in Cuba, and a potential ulnar collateral ligament problem in his right arm, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
The Dodgers reportedly share that concern, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
According to sources, the Dodgers have recently requested a second MRI on the elbow of the hard-hitting Olivera – the next great international player ready to sign with the big leagues – and at least initially it is believe Olivera declined to provide that.
It isn't known what the first MRI showed, but it was taken in the Dominican, and may not be seen as reliable as a team's own doctor's work. People close to the third baseman Olivera point out he is throwing now and well, and that he is one of the most examined and worked-out international players ever, no matter how many MRIs he submits to.
Whether Olivera long term will play third base or second base, the Dodgers have a player there for 2015, with starters Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe signed through this year. Justin Turner backs up both positions, and that's even before considering the Alex Guerrero situation, so there is certainly some redundancy involved.
But long term the Dodgers still have an infield need, and Olivera could be the one to fill it, even if they have to start paying now for someone who might not pay off until the 2016-2020 seasons.
"We are good at factoring in various costs," president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last month.
What Olivera's cost will be remains to be seen, but if we're taking sides chalk me up for under $77 million.