Dodgers officially sign Hector Olivera but could lose Hyun-Jin Ryu

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO >> On the day the Dodgers addressed a non-immediate area of need by officially signing free agent infielder Hector Olivera, another immediate need arose.Olivera’s six-year, $62.5 million contract is the longest and richest given any to player in the Andrew Friedman era. The 30-year-old said through an interpreter that he can play third or first base in addition to second base, the position he played all his life in Cuba.The Dodgers have a proven veteran playing each of those positions already. What they do not have is two-fifths of their projected 2015 starting rotation.Hyun-Jin Ryu is currently contemplating surgery on his ailing left shoulder, a decision that is expected by today. If he has surgery, Ryu might join Brandon McCarthy on the unofficial wait-til-next-year list. Olivera agreed to the terms of his contract in March. He then reported to the Dodgers’ training facility in the Dominican Republic along with Cuban pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez, whose minor league contract also became official Tuesday.The contracts couldn’t become official until each player passed his physical, which couldn’t happen until they received their U.S. work visas last week.Olivera arrived with concerns about the health of his right elbow. His contract specifically includes a seventh-year option for $1 million that triggers if Olivera has Tommy John surgery on the elbow.“I know there was a little inflammation in my arm,” Olivera said. “I did a lot of tryouts and people know that I played well, but it was just fatigue in the muscle. I don’t think there was any serious problem. I don’t know where that rumor started.”According to The Associated Press, Olivera gets a $28 million signing bonus, of which $12 million is payable within five days of approval by the commissioner’s office, $7.5 million by Aug. 1 and $8.5 million by Dec. 31. Olivera will receive salaries of $2 million this year, $4 million in 2016, $6 million in 2017, $6.5 million in 2018, $7.5 million in 2019 and $8.5 million in 2020.To make room for Olivera on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, Triple-A reliever Eury De La Rosa was designated for assignment.Once he is cleared to join the Dodgers, Olivera will add to the club’s infield depth. Juan Uribe, the incumbent starter at third base, has recently split playing time with both Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner.Howie Kendrick’s successful transition to the National League leaves little room for Olivera to steal time at second base if Kendrick is healthy. Adrian Gonzalez is an early contender for the NL Most Valuable Player award and not likely to lose at-bats to Guerrero, either. If the current group of infielders remain healthy, trading one of them might be the Dodgers’ best means of accommodating Olivera.Ryu’s lack of progress in rehab creates an obvious area of need. Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger are pitching well, but their talent is unproven. Brandon Beachy’s talent is proven, but he is facing an uncertain path in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.“If we could add an arm,” Friedman said, “it’d certainly be helpful.”AlsoDodgers manager Don Mattingly said he “felt honored” to be chosen as a National League coach at the All-Star Game in July. He was chosen by San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the NL squad. … Mattingly said that Beachy might throw to live hitters in batting practice once more before he is sent out on a minor league rehab assignment. The club was encouraged by Beachy’s first live BP session over the weekend. … Left-handed pitching prospect Julio Urias will have elective surgery to remove a benign tumor on his left eye later this month. The surgery is for cosmetic reasons but it will delay the 18-year-old from reaching his pre-determined innings limit. Urias will miss 4-5 weeks out of the Double-A season while he recovers. “It’s not a totally clear, black-and white-issue,” Friedman said of the decision. “It’s more involved than that. We have a tremendous doctor in (Neal) ElAttrache, a really good medical department, and we’re just putting our heads together to figure out what makes the most sense.”Ryu is 28-15 with a 3.17 earned-run average in two years since signing a six-year contract prior to the 2013 season. Without him this season, Dodger starters have struggled to pitch deep into games and to limit opponents’ home runs, but otherwise rank among the top half in MLB in the major pitching categories.While Ryu mulled his options Tuesday, Olivera passed his physical in Los Angeles and flew to Arizona. He will begin his Dodgers career at extended spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, then Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, then Triple-A Oklahoma City.Olivera’s timetable for reaching the major leagues isn’t set in stone, but both he and Friedman believe Olivera can make an impact this year.“I think three or four weeks and I should be ready by then,” he said through an interpreter.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more