Braves’ 0-7 season takes an even uglier turn with Olivera arrest

022216 LAKE BUENA VISTA: Braves left fielder Hector Olivera confers with manager Fredi Gonzalez during spring training in Champion Stadium on Monday, Feb 22, 2016, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista, FL. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Braves left fielder Hector Olivera, here with manager Fredi Gonzalez during spring training, was been arrested for domestic violence for an alleged incident in Arlington, Va. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

(Updated: 5 p.m.)

Seven losses, zero wins and now a major piece of the roster has been arrested for domestic violence. And we’re only in April.

The Braves’ season, which has jumped the rails even sooner and more dramatically than most could have envisioned, took an ugly, real-life turn Wednesday when left fielder Hector Olivera was arrested on domestic violence charges at the team hotel in Arlington, Va. (just outside of Washington D.C., where the team is for a series against the Nationals). Olivera appeared in court later in the day and was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

The Braves released a statement reading, “We are extremely disappointed and troubled to learn of the allegations involving Hector Olivera. We will continue to gather information and will address this matter appropriately as we determine the facts.  Major League Baseball has placed Olivera on Administrative Leave effective immediately.”

It may be a while before we learn details of the reported incident and of Olivera’s guilt or innocence. That said, this is the last thing the Braves needed in a season when their on-field product is an embarrassment and the only thing they have going for them is the feel-good storyline of rebuilding with young, hard-working players and doing things the right way.

Olivera isn’t young (31), but he’s relatively new. Braves executives John Hart and John Coppolella took a significant risk when they acquired the high-priced, former Cuban defector from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade last July, sending away a package of players that included starting lefthander Alex Wood and touted prospect Jose Peraza. The Dodgers paid Olivera a $28 million signing bonus but the Braves remain responsible for his salaries from 2016 to 2020 ($32.5 million).

I spent some time with Olivera in spring training and, while he’s not the most comfortable player around the media, he seemed eager to prove his worth and was cognizant of perceptions that he needed to perform quickly, given his age.

“I’m going to be patient and work every day and not think about the next day,” Olivera said through his translator, coach Eddie Perez. “I want to do the right thing. I’m not in a rush. I’m not feeling pressure. I don’t want to feel pressure. If I go 0-for-4 today, I’m going to come back tomorrow. I know what I can do and the Braves know what I can do.”

Here’s a link to that column: Olivera has limited time to meet expectations.

Olivera has started slow this season, hitting .211 (4 for 19) with two RBI and five strikeouts. But he’s not alone in that area. The Braves are the second-worst hitting club in the majors at .203 and rank 26th in runs.

What they can’t afford is bad PR to go with bad baseball. And if at the end of this investigation it’s found that there is a legitimate victim of domestic violence, a .211 batting average will be the least of Olivera’s problems.

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61 comments
Paul R Denault
Paul R Denault

Hector Olivera wasn't a good investment from the start. Too old for a long term prospect, no major league experience and for some reason dropped like a hot potato by the Dodgers after they payed him a 28 million signing bonus. After seeing his lack of power, inept clutch hitting, average speed and defensive skills, I'm not sure what Hart or Coppolella saw in this guy. He will never become the "superstar" they thought they had acquired.

Marvel_Goose
Marvel_Goose

What is the record for most consecutive losses to start a season?  If we are going to lose, let's go for world class losing.

The Doom
The Doom

Braves are just plain awful. Oh, well. Only 4 1/2 months before the Tide begins to roll again towards another national title run. In the meantime I suppose the Braves will provide some comedic relief. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

Just another reason that I have zero sympathy for friends and colleagues when they bemoan the plight of pro sports in their cities. 

Nothing--absolutely nothing--they can drum up compares with the sorry state of professional sports in Losersville--year after year, decade after decade, and on and off the field/court.

Ed Hallman
Ed Hallman

The photo of another sports hero. Just a photo, not a man.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

If the Braves team this year were a Netflix series, i'd stop watching based on the absurd plot. 

Buckhead Vol
Buckhead Vol

fire fredi.  cannot control them on or off the field.  0-21.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

Ted is rolling over......


on Jane

OH:IO
OH:IO

dogs - felonies (and it's only Spring, dogs, BUI anyone?)


falcons - DUI jail time


braves - sexual assault 


Is this a great sports market or what?

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

OH:IO. I heard you walked into a bar once with a frog sitting on your head. The bartender asked you, "man, what's up with that"? The frog spoke up and said "I don't know. It started as a wart a couple of weeks ago"

Quentin West
Quentin West

They've been cursed for moving out to be among their so-called white fan base in cobb county and abandoning the very nice stadium that the tax payers of the city of Atlanta built for them back in the 90's and are left on the hook to keep paying for it..

David Lee McWilliams
David Lee McWilliams

They're still playing at Turner. Not sure they're "cursed" because of a ridiculous racial reason but more likely due to the fact they are attempting to rebuild a World Series caliber team. Which usually means "we suck at the moment".

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Where is the black fan base at the TED if you want to bring Race into the Braves woes in 2016? It was a nice Olympic Stadium converted to a baseball stadium for the Braves but the city of Atlanta put zero effort or money in any development of the surrounding area around the stadium. Most of the area is in the same shape as it was when Fulton County stadium was the home of the Braves.

Cobb county 's Commission and taxpayers are on the hook for most of the cost of the new development and Stadium the Braves will occupy in 2017.


It is sad that a major league caliber facility will now be home to a mid major college program,but the shortsightedness of the mayor and council in Atlanta opened the way for the Braves move to Cobb county.

Pete Omalley Jr.
Pete Omalley Jr.

John Hart this is on you.He didn't turn into a thug overnight

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

Just baseball-wise this guy seemed a very poor investment, given his age, cost and lack of track record. Included in that cost was the loss of good prospects. And, now this shameful incident. Just dadgummit.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

You know there is a good team in Atlanta you could write about rather than this waste of space Braves team, right? The Hawks are about to go to the playoffs for the 9th consecutive season. There's an entire generation of kids in the ATL who can't remember a bad Hawks team, much like my generation for a long time couldn't remember a bad Braves team. I think the Hawks have done enough to deserve more than one article per month from you and Mark Bradley, don't you?

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

@NajehDavenpoop There's a very decent chance that the Hawks will win a playoff game before the Braves win *any* game. 

mid_way
mid_way

.203 team batting average?  Looks like whatever BJ Upton had is catching.  The Braves blamed the last GM.  Who do they blame now?  That guy looking back in the mirror?

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

@midwaycva41 Maybe they can blame Terry Pendleton again since it worked so well the last time they scapegoated him.

James Kloscak
James Kloscak

The wheels are coming off for the braves train...

Brian Palmer
Brian Palmer

They came off opening day of spring training.

Stephen White
Stephen White

Can we just cancel this train wreck of a season already?!

Archangel
Archangel

Just look at all the hysterical remarks on this blog.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

At least the Braves are beating something... throw the book at this guy

Phil Clark
Phil Clark

Ok. Did this stadium get built on a cemetery lot? Did a church get moved? Is ownership just evil? What's really going on with this team? This sucks..

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

Worse than a cemetery. The stadium is getting built in Cobb County.

Chris Agel
Chris Agel

Just the kind of maturity we thought we where getting with this 40 year old rookie...smh.

candlin14
candlin14

I have said it from the beginning, we DID NOT NEED TO CLEAN HOUSE... I hear a lot of grief every time I say this but we destroyed this team because of two bad contacts. Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. It makes absolutely no sense why this young team was dismantled because of these two idiots. What a joke this franchise is. 


This Olivera trade was not that great to begin with, now it looks even worse.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Turns out Hart/Coppy are just as incompetent as Wren.  We can add Olivera to the list of expensive busts for the Braves right under BJ, Uggla, Kawakami...............

Archangel
Archangel

Yeah because lack of good hitting is the same as domestic violence.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@Archangel No, but when you have BOTH in the same person, kinda speaks for itself...

Big Wally
Big Wally

Arrogant front office that thinks they are smarter than everyone else in the room.

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

People were right about Olivera, he really can hit.

Can'o'corn
Can'o'corn

they need to clean house and start at the very tip top.  not one person should be carried over.

E983
E983

Oh my my. Who gets this club folks? They sure are dress it up.

mnt
mnt

The Braves are a disgrace. Do you think Atlanta could pay them to change their name to the Smyrna Braves?

jonnycash
jonnycash

@mnt Why would Smyrna want them?  They would still be the braves.