Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Hector Olivera

Farhan Zaidi offers insight into dealmaking process

FZBy Jon Weisman

As you might suspect, Major League trades — especially when there’s a deadline — don’t come in a neat and tidy process. It’s sloppy and time-consuming and anything but linear.

Tonight, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi spoke tonight the Dodgers’ deadline deals, and offered some interesting perspective about how they actually get approached and executed.

Here is a sampling of what he said. Well, not really a sampling — a rather large, detailed chunk …

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Live-blog: Andrew Friedman discusses today’s deals

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is speaking to reporters this evening about today’s three-team trade and other developments. Here’s a live-blog of his comments:

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Moving day brings major additions to Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

It’s a massive move that puts five established pitchers in the Dodger starting rotation from now through October.

It’s a win-now, win-later maneuver that deepens the franchise for years to come.

In a three-team deal with Atlanta and Miami, the Dodgers have acquired left-handed pitchers Alex Wood and Luis Avilan, right-handers Mat Latos, Jim Johnson and Bronson Arroyo, second baseman-shortstop Jose Peraza and outfielder-first baseman Michael Morse.

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Farhan Zaidi discusses Dodger draft signings

Dodgers at Nationals, 4:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Andre Ethier, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Hours before they started the second half of their season in Washington, the Dodgers met the deadline for singing players from the 2015 amateur draft by locking up first-round draft choice Walker Buehler, sixth-rounder Edwin Rios and 30th-rounder Logan Crouse.

Buehler’s signing came amid some media reports today that he had an elbow issue.

“We’re not going to comment on anything medically related to Walker,” Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “We’re obviously excited to have him on board. He finished the college season strong, obviously pitched in the College World Series.”

Rios, who had a .421 on-base percentage and .591 slugging percentage with 18 home runs in 61 games for Florida International in his junior season this year, was the only corner infielder in the first 10 rounds of Dodger draft selections. Negotiations went down to the wire.

“We went really pitching heavy,” Zaidi said, “so being able to get a college bat with some polish and hopefully the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup is exciting. It took a little bit of time to hammer out the deal, so the lost development time is unfortunate, but we’re obviously excited to have him now. We’ll start him out in Arizona and hopefully move out to one of the other clubs shortly thereafter.”

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Olivera hectored by hamstring

Photo: Oklahoma City Dodgers

Photo: Oklahoma City Dodgers

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have said that Cuban infielder Hector Olivera is in the equivalent of Spring Training as he plays his minor-league games this month. Now, they have the Spring Training injury to back that up.

Olivera has been placed on the Triple-A seven-day disabled list by Oklahoma City with a left hamstring strain, and Don Mattingly told reporters that Olivera would be going to Camelback Ranch for rehab.

The 30-year-old has a .387 on-base percentage and .581 slugging percentage in 31 plate appearances for Oklahoma City. He is 12 for 31 with a double, triple and home run. He has also been a man of action, striking out only three times and walking none.

Hector Olivera promoted to Triple-A

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HO 2By Jon Weisman

Cuban import Hector Olivera, who went 2 for 4 (while being robbed of a third hit) in a nationally televised game Thursday at Double-A Tulsa, has been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

In six games with the Drillers, the 30-year-old Olivera went 7 for 22 with a grand slam and three walks, for an .855 OPS. He also had a slick defensive play at third base in Thursday’s game, charging a ball hit down the line.

The transaction puts Olivera alongside the Dodgers’ top young prospect, Corey Seager, who went 2 for 4 with a double Thursday in Oklahoma City’s 3-1 victory over Barry Zito and Nashville. Seager now has a .356 on-base percentage and .419 slugging percentage in Triple-A, despite playing home games in the most run-depressing environment in the Pacific Coast League.

In case you missed it: Home Run Dopey

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Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Alex Guerrero, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

I strongly recommend you read Eric Stephen’s piece at True Blue L.A. today on the Dodger offense, which is starting to take on criticism for hitting too many home runs. Yeah, really.

At the heart of the problem is the increasing circulation of the misleading statistic that 49 percent of the Dodger offense has been produced by home runs (117 of the Dodgers’ 238 runs have been driven in by homers) — which conveniently ignores how the guys who scored ahead of the home runs get on base.

I guess the fear is that somehow, if the Dodgers score too many runs on home runs, then they’ll be in trouble in October when the home runs don’t come so easily — as if somehow walks, hit-and-runs and stolen bases in the playoffs somehow are a piece of cake.

Let’s find other things to think about …

  • Tonight’s Dodger game has been — shocker, I know — delayed by rain. No cancellation is expected.
  • Hector Olivera is expected begin his professional career Thursday with Double-A Tulsa in a 5:05 Pacific game against Midland.
  • Yasiel Puig is expected to start his rehab assignment with Rancho Cucamonga in a 6:30 p.m. game at Lancaster. His last rehab assignment began three weeks ago but was cut short May 8.
  • Ian Thomas, the 26th man on the roster for Tuesday’s doubleheader, has been returned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
  • In the wake of Joc Pederson’s awesome power display Tuesday, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs looks at Joc Pederson’s awesome power.
  • ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, updated through Tuesday, is a lot of fun to look at today.
  • Talk about batting 1.000 …

In case you missed it: Grandal denies W for acha

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By Jon Weisman

On Saturday in St. Louis, Michael Wacha carried a shutout (OK, a no-hitter) into the seventh (OK, the sixth) inning, then gave up a couple of hits and a huge home run. Sound familiar, anyone?

Sure, the stakes were different in the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory than Game 4 of the National League Division Series, but otherwise it was something of a mirror image of Clayton Kershaw’s final October downfall.

Judging by what he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny left Wacha in the game mainly to try to get him the “W” next to his name in the boxscore.

“You’ve got that situation there with an opportunity to pitch (Gonzalez) tough, fouled off a lot of pitches and that did, no question, wear him down pretty good,” Matheny said. “At that point we’ve got to try and keep him in that game. Try and get our offense back out there and get him a win. The ball jumped for Grandal and that was the big game-changer.

“If it’s a 1-1 game, it’s Michael’s game.”

Said Yasmani Grandal, who blasted the three-run shot off Wacha, to David Cobb of “It just so happened that [Wacha] made a mistake, probably the only mistake he made all night, and I was able to capitalize on it.”

MLB’s Statcast took a look at Grandal’s tiebreaking homer Saturday and noted that Grandal “has an average exit velocity of 94.5 mph on balls Statcast™ has tracked, which leads all catchers.”

Grandal’s .492 on-base percentage in May is the second-best mark in the National League this month behind Bryce Harper, according to the Dodgers’ PR department, and he is  third in slugging percentage (.698), behind Harper (.905) and Paul Goldschmidt (.720).

Grandal also provided benefits behind the plate for the Dodgers on Saturday. Grandal told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that starting pitcher Carlos Frias was trying to do too much too soon in his fruitless start a week ago against San Diego.

… “He wanted to use all four of his pitches from the beginning for some reason and I thought we could go with one or two pitches for the first three or four innings and all of a sudden mix in those other two,” Grandal said.

Frias talked about his trust with Grandal, saying he never shook him off Saturday. He was perfectly happy to cede the game plan to his catcher.

“If he’s thinking, he’s probably not doing his job right,” Grandal said. …

Despite an error by Howie Kendrick on his first batter and loading the bases before getting an out, Frias went seven innings and allowed only one run, unearned.

“Last time he was all over the place,” Don Mattingly told Cobb. “Tonight, he seemed to be hitting his spots. He used his slider some. As the game went on, he started using his curveball. That’s the key.”

Here are some more notes from the weekend …

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Video: Hector Olivera works out at Camelback

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Here are some video highlights from Camelback Ranch of Hector Olivera, who officially became a Dodger on May 19.

— Jon Weisman

Live-blog: Hector Olivera talks about becoming a Dodger

Olivera_Hector_LAD_493343By Jon Weisman

New Dodger infielder Hector Olivera is speaking through a translator with reporters about the process of becoming a Dodger tonight. Here is a live-blog of some of his remarks:

  • There were five teams that were interested in me … in the end, I decided to sign with the Dodgers. I knew it was a great organization.
  • There are Cubans that play on this team, and I know I can do a great job for this organization.
  • Most of my career I have played second base, but I can also play first and third.
  • I talked to (Cubans on Dodgers) and they informed me of a lot of things. I know it’s difficult to make that transition. The Major Leagues is the best level of baseball in the world, and there has to be good preparation to play well on the big-league level.
  • Three or four weeks to prepare myself, and I should be ready by then to play at the big-league level. I know that the Dodgers have a great chance of winning.
  • Mentally, I’m very prepared. I know what it takes to be a Major Leaguer, and I also know the conditions. Physically, I prepare myself very well in the Dominican Republic at the Academy. I just have to do some refining at the complex and also in minor-league games.
  • My style of play is to play hard but relaxed.
  • When I agreed with the Dodgers, I immediately went to the Academy in the Dominican Republic, and I did basic preparation there. I just need the final touch, and that is what I’m going to do here in Arizona.
  • I’m just prepared to play, period. That’s what I want to do. I’m here to play, wherever they put me.
  • I don’t know where that rumor (about UCL in elbow) came from. I know there was a little inflammation in my arm. I did a lot at tryouts, and people know I played well. It was just fatigue.
  • I’m going to be the new kid on the block, and I just want to have a lot of support from the people, especially from my teammates. I’m going to work hard, I’m going to play every day — that’s what I’m hope – and I just hope to get a lot of support from the people of Los Angeles, because Los Angeles is going to be my team.
  • My whole career I played second base, but I don’t think I’m in the position to decide. … Wherever they put me, they’re going to see the results, because I’ve prepared myself and I will work hard.
  • Thank you very much, and hope to see you guys soon, and hopefully we can get the ring this year.

Live-blog: Andrew Friedman on Hector Olivera acquisition, Dodger health concerns

Andrew Friedman with Dodger clubhouse manager Mitch Poole in April (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Andrew Friedman with Dodger clubhouse manager Mitch Poole in April (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman chatted with reporters beginning at 5 p.m. about the Hector Olivera and Pablo Fernandez signings (and presumably other Dodger-related matters). What follows is a live-blog of some of his remarks.

  • In the near term, we’re going to send (Olivera) to Arizona, get in game shape, work out for a few days and reassess from there. He’ll be there for a week or so, then head to Rancho for a few games … then get him to Oklahoma City and play there for a little while and reassess.
  • Having as many as good players as possible not only helps you in constructing your own roster but also allows you the opportunity to have more good players to talk about with other teams. If we’re ever complaining about having too much depth, that’s certainly a good problem to have. … Having a player who can impact the game offensively like Hector can is obviously a good thing.
  • We did a thorough medical review and feel good about where he is … he takes care of himself really well. We’ve had him at our academy in the Dominican for a month … seen how he bounces back day after day.
  • Versatility on the defensive side – he’ll tell you he’s most comfortable at second, but he’s had no problems moving around the infield. The reports (at second and third) are both good.
  • At this point it’s premature to speculate (how fast he’ll impact at the Major Leagues). We’ve seen with guys in the past that it’s hard to miss Spring Training and hit the ground running, but everybody’s different.
  • We feel at this point and time offense is at a premium in the game … his bat can have an impact.
  • We feel very confident he’s going to come up at some point this year and help us win games.
  • His hands play (defensively). … He’s a big physical guy and probably bigger than most people think of when they think of a Major League second baseman, but his hands work really well and his footwork is very good.
  • We’re going to stretch (Fernandez) out as a starter. We’ve talked to him about it and he’s excited about it. He’s got a five-pitch mix … and has had really good command throughout his career. (Friedman compared him to Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez.)
  • We’re very mindful of how difficult it is (to transition). … We’re going to do everything we can to help both guys navigate through.
  • (There might be new information on injured Dodger pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu on Wednesday.)
  • (Surgery discussion for Julio Urias) came up at the end of spring. … (goal for us) is doing what’s right by Julio.
  • (Concern over Ryu) is similar to what it’s been for a few weeks, that it hasn’t progressed as we hoped. … It’s not a black-and-white issue, but fortunately we have a tremendous doctor in (Neal) ElAttrache, and we’re putting our heads together to determine what makes sense.
  • Mentally, I’ve been thinking (Ryu might be lost for season) for a little while, because it’s better to err on that side. … Our mindset has been to treat it as if he’s not (coming back this year), because it’s easier to react the other way.
  • Both (Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger) have pitched really well. Any time you lose two starters, you’re always mindful of your depth. … We’re never going to be comfortable with our starting pitching depth. From where we’re sitting right now, if we can add an arm, it would certainly be helpful.

That’s the summary of the Friedman interview. Hector Olivera is scheduled to speak to beat writers (through a translator) later this evening.

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