We continue our roundtable series with a look at Hector Olivera and where he will be playing on opening day for the Atlanta Braves.
What position will Hector Olivera be playing on opening day?
(Kyle Parmley): Left field, with Adonis Garcia manning the hot corner, as it stands now. But this has become a fluid situation with the acquisition of Ender Inciarte, who can play all three outfield spots. I feel as if they want to let Olivera settle in somewhere, and leaving him in one position would give him one less thing to worry about and get comfortable.
(Tony Almeyda): Left field. That's really the best place for him, but then that creates a dilemma with Inciarte if the Braves decide to keep him. Inciarte would be an upgrade over Michael Bourn offensively, so I say let Bonifacio be the fourth outfielder and find a way to unload Bourn.
(Eric Cole): Left Field. I thought it was still a possibility that he would see time at third base despite the presence of Adonis Garcia until the Braves acquired Gordon Beckham and Bonifacio. Braves love Hector's bat and left field is abysmal at the moment, so Hector can slide right in there while letting the surprisingly productive Adonis man third base. If Garcia comes back down to earth, its possible he slides back in at third base periodically, but the Braves' moves this offseason seem to indicate that they would really prefer to not do that.
(Brad Rowland): The smart money is on left field, even if that isn't the smart decision organizationally. I've been against the Wood-Olivera trade since the day it was conceived, but it looks (far) worse if Olivera is unable to play third base. It is inconceivable to me that the organization wouldn't at least try him at the hot corner, but if the intel is bad enough on his defense there, best of luck in left field.
(Demetrius Bell): For better or worse, I think he's going to be in left field. Again, their handling of the Hector Olivera situation since the trade was made has really been my only head-scratcher when it comes to this entire rebuild. It was totally understandable to see him slide into the 3rd base role after the Braves finally found a way to get Chris Johnson out of town, but to see them just decide "Oh, about that new 3rd baseman? Nevermind, he's an outfielder now," after such a short amount of time? Very strange, but if they saw something that made them believe that he'd benefit the team more in left field than at 3rd base, then I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if it works. I sure hope it works, because if his bat develops like the team hope it does, then it'd be nice to have an offensive weapon who isn't a defensive black hole at his position.
(Kris Willis): Left field most likely, but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see him back at third base at some point either. The interesting thing about the decision to move Olivera to the outfield for me was that it came at a time when the Braves had multiple outfield options and very few at third base. I'm guessing that by the time opening day rolls around that at least one of Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn will no longer be on the roster. It looks like they are prepared to roll with Adonis Garcia at third base full time and depending on how that goes along with what other options appear will determine whether Olivera's stay in the outfield is for the long haul or not.
(Ivan): I'm going to give the annoying non-answer and guess that he's not in the lineup on Opening Day. At this point I'd give 50-50 odds on either 3B or LF for him to start the year, but I think it'll become immediately obvious after the first week or so of Spring Training what the Braves are thinking. If they're still thinking he's a 3B and starts there during March, then he'll get a chance to not embarrass himself out there until the season starts. If he starts in LF in March, chances are all the smoke about the Braves thinking he can't cut it at 3B has some real fire behind it. In any case, I wouldn't feel confident betting on either outcome here.