Major League Baseball has weighed in for presumably the final time on the Hector Olivera situation: His indefinite suspension for alleged domestic violence now has an official finish line of Aug. 1, which effectively amounts to 82 games.
The fact MLB's decision came down before Olivera's case in the Arlington County (Va.) court system is resolved is a little curious but it's in line with how the league has operated in its new domestic violence policy. It also suggests MLB officials expect Olivera's case to be finalized on or before July 11, which is when he is next scheduled to appear in Arlington County District Court on misdemeanor assault charges, stemming from an alleged incident with a woman in April during a Braves' road trip to Washington
While Olivera's case appears headed toward resolution, his future with the Braves is less certain. The fact he remains an unproven commodity and is signed through 2020 (with salaries totaling $32.5 million, including $8.67 million this season), makes him relatively untradeable. Yes, I say that even though the team found a way to trade Melvin (B.J.) Upton (packaging him with one of the team's most valuable assets, closer Craig Kimbrel).
Olivera hit .211 in six games (21 plate appearances) before the alleged assault. He has played only 30 games in the majors, hitting .245. He will be allowed to participate in extended spring training activities during the suspension and becomes eligible for a rehabilitation assignment July 15. But the Braves' plans for him are unclear -- and they had no interest in making them clear Thursday.
The Braves' statement: "The Braves fully support Major League Baseball’s decision regarding Hector Olivera. The Club will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”
But Olivera has a difficult road ahead of him, not merely in proving his worth as a player at the age of 31 but processing the public scrutiny and potential verbal abuse he will be subjected to as a result of all this.
This statement from commissioner Rob Manfred will forever be on his resume: "My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Hector Olivera violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy on April 13, 2016. Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Olivera violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension..."
The Braves the Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood and prospect Jose Peraza in a three-team trade for Olivera. The odds remain against the Braves looking good in this deal.
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