Braves

Should the Braves Sign Hector Olivera?

The Braves have been linked to Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera for weeks, and they reportedly have an offer on the table. In addition to this, his agent is reportedly in Atlanta today meeting with the team. Things are really starting to heat up for both sides. However, it has been made clear that the Braves will not get in an all-out bidding war with another team for Olivera. Olivera expects to earn around $50 million, and the Braves comfort level apparently is around $30-40 million. The terms of the contract Atlanta offered him are not known at this time. Olivera is known to be a second baseman, a position of need for Atlanta at the moment. A lot of people speculate that if signed, either he or top prospect Second Baseman Jose Peraza could make the switch to Third Base at some point in the future. The 29-year-old has put up some great numbers in Cuba and played on their national team, but so much is unknown about these players, making them very hit or miss. We saw how fast players like Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig broke onto the scene in the bigs and how successful they have been, but with the Braves’ financial situation they are in, they need a sure thing in Olivera. With Melvin Upton Jr. and Dan Uggla still on the books, I just do not think that the risk outweighs the cost, especially with teams such as the Dodgers starting to get in the mix. I am glad to see that Atlanta is exploring the Cuban market, as evidenced by their interest in Olivera and signing of outfielder Dian Toscano. Cuba is an untapped resource, and Olivera could be a great player in the show, but the Braves are not financially stable enough to be taking risks. I am intrigued at the idea of adding Olivera, but it needs to be done only at the right price. I don’t think I’d be comfortable with the Braves offering over $40 million for an unproven commodity that’s about to be on the wrong side of 30 at this point in time. The other side of the argument is that many scouts believe Olivera may hit for a good average and 15-20 homers as soon as this upcoming year, and he could fill a big hole for Atlanta and exceed his contract value. However, I think ultimately the Braves will get outbid regardless with the Dodgers now in play for him. In normal circumstances, I would be onboard with the Front Office being aggressive and supportive of such a signing because I think Olivera has potential to be a good player, but Atlanta cannot afford another mistake. The Braves need to bring along their prospects and keep themselves financially flexible to compete in a couple of years. I do trust John Hart’s judgment as he has brought teams to World Series before so if we bring him in I trust what our scouts see. Olivera is in a fluid situation and we will keep you updated here on SportsTalkATL as more information emerges.

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