Dodgers agree to $62.5-million deal with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera

Dodgers agree to $62.5-million deal with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera
Cuban prospect Hector Olivera in action.

The Dodgers are adding another high-priced player from Cuba, as they have agreed to a six-year, $62.5-million contract with free-agent infielder Hector Olivera.

Olivera's deal includes a $28-million bonus, according to his agent, Greg Genske.


A former standout on Cuba's national team, the 29-year-old Olivera was primarily a second baseman in his home country. He can also play third base.

The Dodgers will have multiple vacancies in their infield at the end of the upcoming season, as second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and third baseman Juan Uribe will become free agents.

Olivera will be the fourth Cuban defector to land an eight-figure contact with the Dodgers, as he follows Yasiel Puig (seven years, $42 million), Alex Guerrero (four years, $28 million) and Erisbel Arruebarrena (five years, $25 million).

The Dodgers also recently agreed to a minor-league contract worth $8 million with Cuban right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez.

Olivera has a particularly mysterious history, even by the standards of Cuban defectors. He was sidelined for the Cuban league's entire 2012-13 season with what was reported to be a blood clot in his left arm. He returned the following season, but played the majority of the time as a designated hitter rather than at his regular position at second base.

There were also rumors circulating in baseball circles that Olivera might need major surgery on the elbow of his throwing arm.

Still, the former Cuban national team standout was said to be impressive in recent showcases in the Dominican Republic.

Olivera has long been considered one of Cuba's top players.

He represented his country at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, at which Baseball America called him the No. 4 prospect on his team. The three players who were ranked ahead of him were Aroldis Chapman, now the closer of the Cincinnati Reds; Yoenis Cespedes, now an outfielder with the Detroit Tigers; and Yulieski Gourriel, who remains in Cuba.