Is Hector Olivera the Solution for the Angels?


Even with the uncertainties surrounding Josh Hamilton, the biggest question mark and possible hole for the Angels is second base. The Angels have created a competition for the role by trading for Josh Rutledge, Johnny Giavotella and rule five pick Taylor Featherston. Put those names in the arena with incumbent choice Grant Green and you have depth and modest capability but lack high upside. The free agent market is beyond thin and the trade market would be too costly for the Angels thin farm system. Another choice is soon to be available and teams are already lining up, Cuban Hector Olivera

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Olivera is a bit different than most of your Cuban prospects in that he isn’t really a prospect given his age – 29 soon to be 30. He plays second base but had to sit out the 2012-13 season due to what was reported as thrombosis. He came back strong and batted .312/.412/.474 with seven home runs and only 25 strikeouts in 273 plate appearances. Scouts expect that he is ready to step right into the big leagues with our any minor league seasoning. He won’t cost future international signings or taxes for teams but will likely go for a good chunk of change (SBNation throws out a number of near $30 million).

The Angels may be hesitant to spend that kind of money towards an untested MLB talent when they’ve given up prospects and have four players able to fill the position. But, the team is built to win now and with an aging Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver they need to do what they can to capitalize. Olivera comes with the reputation of being a player who could very well be above average and potentially a difference maker with his power. While he would cost money he most likely wouldn’t put the payroll into the luxury tax. Yoan Moncada is the undisputed prize of the international market right now and Andy Ibanez is a second base Cuban as well but neither are expected to contribute much to a team this season. Olivera could be the piece that puts an above average big leaguer at every position for the Angels.

The Dodgers have been reported to have the most interest in him and a number of other teams have both the need and reported interest. The Halos have not been connected to Olivera but that’s been the case with most of their trade or free agent targets so don’t count them out. Perhaps their second base competition will turn out fine, but for a team built to win now that’s a big question when there’s a player with the potential to solidify a championship caliber roster.

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