When an aging journeyman catcher — especially one who was cast off last year by a very poor Miami Marlins team — gets into a fight with a prospect on a $28 million contract, it is not hard to figure out who will be shown the door.
It should be no surprise that the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have released Miguel Olivo. The catcher had initially been suspended indefinitely by the team after a dugout fight in which Olivo apparently bit off a piece of Alexander Guerrero’s ear. The incident occurred after an on-field argument carried over into the dugout, leading to a physical altercation between Olivo and Guerrero. During the course of the altercation, Olivo bit off a piece Guerrero’s ear, which ultimately required a hospital stay, surgery and a few days of observation.
This may have been Olivo’s last chance with any big league club. The Marlins sent him away last season after attitude issues led to a benching, and he was forced to sit out the remainder of the year after the Marlins declined to grant him his release. Olivo signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers during the offseason to provide organizational depth, and actually saw some big league action when A.J. Ellis was out with surgery. During his eight games, Olivo slashed .217/.240/.304 with two RBI and 12 strikeouts.
Even if Olivo had been productive, it is hard to imagine that the Dodgers would have kept him around after an incident such as this. As a veteran playing in Triple-A, Olivo should have been expected to serve as a sort of mentor, showing the Dodgers minor leaguers preparing to be called up how to behave as a professional. Clearly, Olivo was never really suited for this role, and this incident only further underscores that fact.
Guerrero had very high expectations thrust upon him, and by all accounts his attitude was very good during Spring Training with the big league club. It is disappointing that he was involved in an incident such as this, but it is Olivo whose behavior is completely indefensible. Guerrero’s future with the club remains uncertain with regard to his future role, but it is hard to imagine Olivo catching on with another team anytime soon.
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- Despite Don Mattingly’s Comments, Alexander Guerrero Still Frontrunner for Second Base
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