Dwork On Sports: Marlins Interested In Cuban Infielder Olivera
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Welcome to the Dwork On Sports blog. This is a place where I'll cover all things related to South Florida sports, with a steady combination of facts and opinions while ultimately keeping a close eye on anything and everything related to our local teams.
The Miami Marlins are feeling good as they ease their way into the Spring Training schedule. Entering Thursday's games, Miami has won five of their seven games against MLB opponents, as well as the two games they played against Florida International University and the University of Miami.
The Marlins have gotten solid production from a couple of their newbies, Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki, while others are working on getting acclimated to their defensive partners such as Martin Prado and Dee Gordon.
Indeed, the current Marlins roster should be a contender in the National League as is, but that doesn't mean that Miami's front office isn't always looking for ways to improve.
Enter Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, who is mulling over offers from several big league clubs, including the Marlins.
The offers are reportedly in the four-to-six year range, but the amounts have varied. Interested teams other than Miami are the Dodgers, Braves, A's, Giants and Padres.
Olivera, who turns 30 next month, has an injury history that may have teams a little hesitant but he's said to be completely healthy at this time. A few of the interested teams, including Atlanta, L.A. and San Diego, have all conducted physicals on him.
The Marlins are reported to be comfortable offering Olivera a contract in the $50 million rage, though the amount of years is unknown. Compare that to the Braves, who are more inclined to offer something in the $30-$40 million range.
Scouts believe that Olivera is MLB ready and that he could hit 15-20 home runs along with a strong OBP, in addition to his ability to play any of the four infield positions.
If you're thinking that Miami's infield is already set with Morse, Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria and Prado, you're right.
However, the Marlins would like to bring in Olivera so they can give Morse a day or two off per week, as well as have him give Hechavarria a break every so often to keep Miami's starting shortstop fresher down the stretch.
It's a wide open race to see which MLB team will land Olivera, but a decision could come at any time. He recently changed his representation and that has expanded the level of interest in signing him.
His former agency had said that Olivera is seeking a contract in the $70 million range, but at this time it appears that nobody is coming close to offering him that figure.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see. Should the Marlins end up landing Olivera, he would provide a solid bat and even more depth to their already strong infield.
UPDATE: According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Miami offered Olivera's previous representative a 7-year deal worth $53 million, but then backed away after hearing that the Dodgers offered him $77 million.
The same report says that the Padres made an offer of $52 million and the Braves offered $44 million. It's unknown if these offers were made to Olivera's new reps.
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