The Los Angeles Dodgers obviously believe Hector Olivera is quite valuable. If his contract is not indicative of this, the fact that they traded fan-favorite and clubhouse personality, Juan Uribe, in order to make room for Olivera is more evidence.
The hot corner has become crowded for the Dodgers and had it not been for the trade that sent Uribe to the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers would have four third basemen once Olivera made his expected debut this season.
Alex Guerrero, who has performed well this season and contributed to Uribe being expendable, discussed the advice he gave Olivera, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
He was asking me how the baseball is here, what are the rules, what’s it like?” Guerrero said. “I told him the baseball here requires a lot of discipline, on the field during games and during your preparation. The best baseball in the world is played here. Fewer mistakes are made (than in Cuba) and you have to have 100 percent concentration from the minute you get to the ballpark. I think with our help he’s going to learn quickly and do very well.”
Although Olivera’s potential is high and he conceivably could take away playing time from Guerrero, it isn’t a concern of his:
No, not at all,” Guerrero said through an interpreter. “I’m very happy that he’s joining the team. I’m excited for us, having another Cuban teammate. More importantly, he’s going to help the team.”
In his 10 season in Cuba, Olivera hit below .315 just once and has never struck out more than 32 times in one season. With a career .982 fielding percentage, he figures to slot in well with the Dodgers’ importance on defense.
While Olivera is expected to primarily play third base, he said he’s open to wherever the club places him. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Olivera worked out at second base at the Campo Las Palmas facility in the Dominican Republic as he awaited a visa.
Andrew Friedman Explains Decision To Trade Juan Uribe