Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Braves reportedly have tried to trade Olivera (who has zero value)


Braves general manager John Coppolella (left) and manager Fredi Gonzalez sit in the dugout at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. before speaking with the media after outfielder Hector Olivera was arrested when a woman accused him of assault and battery. (AP photo)

Please allow me to switch from one depressing Atlanta pro sports story (Hawks) to another -- although the subject matter of this story is so pathetic, it's actually kind of funny.

The Braves reportedly are shopping Hector Olivera. Well, of course they are. Because what team wouldn't want to take a chance on an overpaid, unproven, 31-year-old player from Cuba who also has assault and battery charges hanging over his head? And did I mention he was hitting .211?

Jeff Passan of Yahoo reported Monday that the Braves have been trying to trade Olivera since his arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman  in a Washington D.C.-area hotel during a road trip two weeks ago. Olivera is currently on a mandatory paid leave of absence, per MLB policy. It's not known when he'll play again.

Passan quoted two unnamed sources on the Olivera issue in his "10 degrees" notes column. The item included this excerpt: "One executive whom the Braves queried about any interest in Olivera (said): 'I can’t believe they even asked.''

No kidding. To suggest Olivera's market value is down would be an understatement. He has had only 98 major league at-bats and is hitting .245, including .211 this season (4-for-21). The Los Angeles Dodgers paid his $28 million signing bonus but the Braves are responsible for approximately $32 million in salary for five seasons (through 2020). So any team acquiring Olivera would be risking paying a lot of money for a player who probably won't produce quickly (if ever), given his legal entanglements and a lack of major league experience.

The Dodgers made the strange decision to deal Olivera only two months after outbidding other clubs for him and were willing to pay the bonus. That should have set off warning bells. But the Braves, in need of  improving their lineup, traded starting pitcher Alex Wood and prospect Jose Peraza to L.A. as part of a three-team trade with Miami.

Even with Wood currently struggling with the Dodgers and Peraza since traded, this deal has the potential to be a disaster for the Braves, given the financial commitment to Olivera, and that Wood and Peraza were young and modestly paid and had upsides.

Then again, when a team is 4-14, it's not like there's a lot of good news.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.