The latest Cuban raftee, Hector Olivera, signed yesterday with the Dodgers. Olivera leaves Cuba with a slight tear in his UCL and he missed out on the 2012-13 season in Cuba due to a blood clot in his arm. Michael Moore just called, he says you better go back to Cuba for better healthcare. In related Cuban news in regards to the Dodgers, Alex Guerrero might be the first person to raft back to Cuba to play. “I was watching Coach Taylor in the Florida Keys, and I think I need to go back to Cuba to play 3rd base.” That’s Alex Guerrero discussing his future with loved ones while enjoying Netflix streaming. I’d love to interview Puig about this Olivera signing. Not because I think Puig would have anything interesting to say, but because Puig strikes me as a guy that is always at a strip club, and that would make for a fun interview. Olivera has some huge question marks like The Riddler’s leotards. He has those aforementioned health concerns, he’s about to turn 30 years old and he doesn’t have a place to play every day. The Dodgers are so concerned about his health, they put a provision in his contract in case he needs Tommy John surgery. He could take over for Uribe at some point, but he’ll need at least a month in the minors, maybe a few months. So, a guy with injury concerns that will need at least a month of minor league at-bats that doesn’t have a set place to play? Well, I’ve heard better scenarios. Want more wonderful that isn’t wonderful? Lots of baseball people seem to think Olivera is a Latin 29, i.e., he’s actually a few years older than what is being reported. Also, baseball people scratch themselves and spit a lot. Those same spitting, scratching people also think Olivera fatigues too quickly, because his conditioning isn’t there. I will say that after watching Olivera hit he looks like Hanley Ramirez to me. The me who has a minor in Punting Middle Infielders from the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston. The me who is out on a limb like the Tootsie Roll owl saying that Olivera’ll hit 12-15 homers, steal 6-9 bases and hit .275-ish. There’s obviously a huge amount of risk, upside, downside and unknown here. He could be up in July or April. He could play every day and hit 22 homers while stealing 15 bags or platoon with Uribe and hit 8 homers and steal 2 bases. He reminds of another import from this offseason. Call him The Cuban Kang. For this year, I’ll give him the projections of 51/14/56/.272/6 in 400 ABs. That is admittedly almost complete conjecture. Or as I said in the top 20 3rd basemen after I ranked him, “Hector of Olivera, Cuban Baseballmania, Ole Uribe, Corey Seager year away, Dodgers beat Padres, Pope Vin, Puig X, Mattingly Lineup Sets, NL West blown away, what else do I have to say?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:
Hyun-Jin Ryu – There’s no structural damage to his shoulder. That’s the good news. The bad news is there’s no timetable for him to return. Whatever, times tables are for nerds!
Starlin Castro – Scratched yesterday due to his groin. Gross!
Coco Crisp – Day-to-day with elbow soreness. *breathes in deeply* Ah, a minor ailment for Crisp, we must be getting close to the season.
Jaime Garcia – It’s being reported that Garcia’s currently in the lead for the Cardinals 5th starter job with Marco Gonzales and Carlos Martinez being sent to the minors. Damn, I was expecting to hear Garcia was hurt before I reached the end of that sentence. I have Martinez projected for only 138 IP, so even if Garcia is the 5th starter in April, I doubt it stays that way very long.
Koji Uehara – Different day, different story about when Koji’s going to return. Today, the Red Sox are saying he might not be ready for Opening Day. Can we just say he’ll be back within a week of the season starting and miss maybe one save and be done with Koji updates? Yes? Thanks!
Jacoby Ellsbury – Girardi said Ellsbury is “progressing great” and could be ready to play on Opening Day. No word if Girardi used air quotes around the progressing great.
Heath Bell – Decided to retire. For Heath a jolly good fellow and nobody can deny he should retire. He is planning a show on MLB Network with ex-Oriole Larry Sheets called Heath Said, Sheets Said.