Longtime baseball and Padres writer Dustin Palmateer joins Chris for some in-depth Padres chat. They discuss whether the Padres are meeting their goals for the 2017 season, what the trade deadline might bring, especially regarding Padre reliever Brad Hand, the Padres signings during the most recent July 2 international signing deadline, and more.
Follow Dustin on Twitter and check out his writing with The Sacrifice Bunt right here at Padres Public!
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.
Just last week we discussed 29-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera again, noting some of the positives and negatives involved in the Padres’ pursuit of his services. Then, just yesterday, the Dodgers finally put an end to the months-long Olivera saga, signing him to a six-year, $62.5 million deal that includes a $28 million signing bonus.
The Dodgers adding Olivera shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone for the simple reason that, along with the Yankees, they have the most money. Olivera doesn’t necessarily fit LA’s list of immediate needs, a team that already has Juan Uribe, Howie Kendrick, and fellow Cuban Alex Guerrero slotted at second and third base for 2015. Then again, both Uribe and Kendrick are free agents after this season, Guerrero looks like a potential flop, and the Dodgers’ infield depth (they also have Justin Turner and another Cuban Erisbel Arruebarrena) and position on the win curve allows them to be patient with Olivera, perhaps for the betterment of his development and right arm. Further, while the Dodgers have resisted the temptation of opening the vault for international amateurs this signing period, likely readying to load up come July 2nd, they’ve been extremely active in the Cuban market in general in recent years, including an under-the-radar $8 million signing of Pablo Millan Fernandez last week.
For A.J. Preller and the Padres, missing out on Olivera caps off a fascinating offseason, one that saw the Padres both completely reshape the roster and lose out on just about every free agent they apparently courted. Besides the big-ticket signing of James Shields and a few minor deals, Preller’s roster shuffling has centered primarily around trades. Perhaps more surprisingly, noting his background in foreign territory, none of Preller’s moves have involved international players, despite heavily-rumored flirtations with Yasmany Tomas, Yoan Moncada, Hector Olivera, and Yoan Lopez. Three of those players ended up signing with NL West teams (Tomas and Lopez in Arizona and Olivera in LA) while Moncada landed east in Boston.
There’s been a lot written about 29-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera around the internet over the past few months. Heck, there’s been a lot written about Olivera right here at Padres Public, including this article by yours truly and another (more recent) one by Nate.
Despite all of the bandwidth dedicated to the Olivera beat, not much has really changed. He still possesses an interesting track record that contains both stellar Cuban professional league and international play as well as high praise from scouts. His track record also contains a sort of mysterious blood disorder, a missed season, and a most recent season in Cuba in which the second baseman spent most of his time at designated hitter.
Olivera has had mixed performances at recent showcases in preparation for a major league deal, displaying the sort of offensives skills scouts used to drool over while also showing more fatigue than you’d like to see out of a player with past health concerns. Then, things got even more weird — Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Olivera may have UCL damage in his right elbow. That report, naturally, was vehemently denied by Olivera’s camp. Then, Olivera’s camp changed, as he replaced his trainer-agent Rudy Santin with Greg Genske of the Legacy Agency, a move that apparently triggered interest in Olivera from a number of additional MLB clubs.
Despite a recently rumored price tag as high as $70-plus million, with the Dodgers as main players, the Padres have remained one of Olivera’s most likely landing spots through months of speculation. So, with the offseason picture essentially complete, does adding Olivera still make sense? Here are some things to consider.