The A’s continue to monitor Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, who gave an impressive showing at his final open workout in the Dominican Republic.
The Giants, Dodgers and Padres were among the teams with a “notable presence” watching Olivera on Wednesday along with Oakland, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Hundreds of scouts overall were in attendance, and Olivera seemingly did not disappoint. He doubled twice, singled and walked in a showcase game that took place at the Dominican air force base.
Though he can’t sign until Major League Baseball grants him free agency, which should happen soon, Olivera appears to be boosting his stock in these workouts. After shortstop Yoan Moncada, the 29-year-old Olivera has been the most hyped Cuban player available this winter. He’s not subject to international spending limits, so there is no luxury tax attached for the team that signs him.
One scout I talked to recently hadn’t seen Olivera in person but had watched video of him and was impressed by his physical build.
“This guy had muscles on muscles,” the scout said.
The A’s have watched Olivera’s workouts all winter. And though it’s very possible his price tag ends up being too high for Oakland, he’s also a realistic fit for their roster. Were they to plug him in at second base, Ben Zobrist could shift somewhere else on the diamond, possibly left field. There’s no doubt this lineup could benefit from another impact bat.
Nothing I’ve heard suggests the A’s are a more likely destination for Olivera than any other club. But it makes for some interesting speculation as spring training approaches.
On a similar note, Moncada reportedly will field offers over the next two weeks and could sign with a team shortly after that. Buster Olney of ESPN recently suggested Oakland could make a run at Moncada based on opinions of executives around the majors, but Moncada reportedly could cost as much as $80 million including his signing bonus and luxury tax hit. Figure that price makes him a long shot for the A’s.