Dodgers Sign Infielder Hector Olivera
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signings of Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to a six-year contract and Cuban right-handed pitcher Pablo Fernandez to a minor league deal. To make room for Olivera on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated left-handed pitcher Eury De La Rosa for assignment.
"We are excited to be adding two players to our organization that have consistently demonstrated their talent in Cuba as well as in international competition," said Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. "We look forward to adding them to our organization and are confident they will be able to contribute to the Dodgers in the near future."
Olivera, 30, has a .323 career batting average with 96 home runs and 433 RBI, appearing primarily at first base and second base, in 10 seasons with Santiago from 2003-2014. During the course of his career, Olivera has posted a .407 on-base percentage, while drawing more walks (367) than strikeouts (251). He stole a career-high 21 bases in 22 attempts in 2007-08 and has 55 steals in his career.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has posted a batting average of better than .340 on three occasions, while hitting double-digit home runs in five consecutive seasons from 2007-08 through 2011-12. During the five-year period between 2006-11, Olivera was one of the most durable and productive players in Cuba, ranking among the league leaders in games played (432, 5th), runs (406, 2nd), hits (563, 4th), doubles (122, 1st) and total bases (899, 4th). In the 90-game Serie Nacional season, Olivera has recorded career-best marks with 17 home runs (in 60 games in 2011-12), 71 RBI (in 84 games in 2008-09) and a .353 batting average (in 84 games in 2007-08). He last played in 2013-14, hitting .316 with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 73 games.
In addition to playing in Cuba's Serie Nacional, Olivera has extensive experience playing against top talent in international tournaments, including the 2007 Baseball World Cup (silver medal), the 2008 Olympics (silver medal), the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the 2009 Baseball World Cup (silver medal), 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament (silver medal) and the 2010 Intercontinental Cup (gold medal).
Fernandez, 25, has a 32-30 career record with 40 saves and a 3.59 ERA in 177 games (21 starts) in seven seasons with Holguin (2007-14) and Matanzas (2012-13). The Cuban fan favorite has been a staple in the league's All-Star Game during his career, garnering the most All-Star votes in 2013-14 and earning both the win and MVP honors at the 2011-12 game.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder had his best season in 2011-12, earning recognition as the Series Nacional Pitcher of the Year with a league-leading 1.52 ERA and going 7-4 with a club-record 18 saves in 95.0 innings over 35 appearances with Holguin. That season, Fernandez closed out the first extra-inning no-hitter and third combined no-hitter in Cuban history with a 1-2-3 10th inning on March 13, 2012 to preserve a 1-0 win.
Fernandez last pitched during the 2013-14 season, posting an 8-8 record with six saves and a 2.83 ERA in 27 games (one start). He issued only 10 walks in 57.1 innings in 2013-14 and excluding intentional walks, he has issued only 87 walks in 414.0 career innings, less than five percent of his 1751 batters faced.