Braves After Cuban Hector Oliviera? Not Buying That


Padres showing interestOakland in the mixYankees in on Cuban 2B Hector Oliviera?  The Giants, perhaps?

Baseball America’s Ben Badler called Hector Oliviera the the best Cuban player available not named Yoan Moncada.  So naturally, we had this follow-up report from him after his showcase event from the weekend:

"The A’s and Braves were two other teams that sources said had a notable presence at the event. Sources believe all of those teams [A’s, Braves, Padres, Giants] could be in the mix to sign Olivera."

… except that I’m not buying it from Atlanta.

I’ll let you review the scouting reports from the sources above on Oliviera if you would like to learn more about him – that’s not my purpose today.  Instead, I’ll give you the quick skinny:

  • Oliviera looks like a solid hitter, with above-average power – using all fields
  • Good speed
  • Profiles as a second or third baseman; decent fielder, though arm strength appears to be down from the past

Next: A Hint of Offensive Optimism for the Braves

Here is Why None of That Should Matter

The first bullet point is the reported birthdate of Hector Oliviera.  Yes – he will shortly be 30 years old.

The rest of those bullet points identify the names of Atlanta players – current and future that can play second or third base.  There are some “extra” names on that list:  namely Andrelton Simmons.

Now in the grand scheme of things, if they were to sign Oliviera, then Jose Peraza could play shortstop instead of second – ditto for Ozzy Albies (the latter being in A-ball, so clearly he’s some distance away from the majors).  But… somebody – multiple somebodies – would have to depart.

However, there’s an incumbent already anchored at shortstop:  Simmons (under contract through 2020).

Due Diligence, but…

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  • Yes, it makes sense for the Braves to take a look

    .  Yes it makes sense to be “interested”.  But with high-ranking prospects already targeted for these positions, why even consider spending a lot of money on a player who

    could be medically compromised

    and who definitely is already older than every player named above except Johnson?

    According to the list, Peraza is ranked #1 among Braves’ prospects.  Ruiz is 6th.  Albies is 9th.  Dustin Peterson is 17th.  Jace Peterson appears on several other lists – 14th on this one.

    A year ago, I might have had another reaction to news of interest in Oliviera.  Not so today:  the Braves are stacked in the middle infield positions with quality prospects – all of them.

    Pursuit of an untested 30-year-old is not the way Atlanta has been doing business lately – whether under Frank Wren’s direction or John Hart’s.  Additionally, if he’s really as good as Badler suggests, then it might take large cash to sign him (though Oliviera will not be subject to the international signing restrictions).  It will also likely require a contract length of 5 or 6 years.

    That just doesn’t make sense at all for the Braves.  He may be good, but… I’m not buying.