LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers sent waves through the baseball world on Tuesday when they signed Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to a six-year, $62.5 million dollar contract, with $28 million signing bonus.

Ordinarily, a signing of this magnitude is right in line with other deals like Yoan Moncada’s $63 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox, or Jose Abreu’s $68 million dollar contract with the Chicago White Sox.

However, when you factor in the fact that Olivera is on the wrong side of 30, and reportedly is suffering from a torn UCL in his right throwing elbow, the deal with the Cuban infielder becomes that much more head scratching.

Olivera’s deal is the most lucrative free agent signing the Dodgers have done all offseason. It blows away the $48 million they spent on back-of-the-rotation pitcher Brandon McCarthy who was pretty much the only free agent they signed this offseason.

When you commit nearly $90 million dollars and six years to a 30-year-old unproven player who has never stepped foot on a major league diamond or faced major league caliber pitching it screams of a high risk, high reward proposition.

The Dodgers passed on free-agent pitchers Max Scherzer and James Shields. Both were over the age of 30, and reportedly, the Dodgers had concerns with innings pitched over the duration of both players’ careers. Translation? There was too much wear and tear on the tires for the Dodgers to commit the amount of money and years both players received.

Los Angeles also passed on Moncada who is only 19 years of age, and a much better prospect long term. The move to walk away on the Moncada sweepstakes makes more sense however, because it would have handcuffed the Dodgers as far as their international signing opportunities over the next two years.

So why did the Dodgers make such a serious commitment to an older player with issues in his throwing elbow? The answer? Flexibility and the future. Despite the mind-boggling contract, Los Angeles did not sign Olivera to start in the infield on Opening Day. They were also very much aware of his elbow issues. So much so in fact, that reportedly there’s a clause in the contract that if Olivera needs Tommy John Surgery, they Dodgers get an option for a seventh year at a paltry $1 million dollars.

More than likely, the Dodgers are hoping that Olivera opts for the surgery this season. Juan Uribe is the current starting third baseman, and the Dodgers have options in case he goes down. Darwin Barney, Justin Turner, and Corey Seager all are possibilities at third base. Tommy John surgery for non-pitchers also has less of a recovery time, so Olivera could miss the entire 2015 season, and be ready to start with the Dodgers or in the minor leagues next season.

Uribe is in the final year of his deal, as is new shortstop, Jimmy Rollins. The Dodgers are building for the future and more than likely will let Uribe and Rollins walk away at the end of the season leaving Seager and Olivera to man the left side of the infield for the future.

For years, Olivera was widely regarded as one of Cuba’s best all-around players and a phenomenal offensive hitter. Rumors earlier in the week had the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres interested in him. That latter two teams are in the LA’s division and with their deep pocket books, they could simply not allow Olivera to go to a division rival with no viable third basemen set to hit the free agent market in 2016.

So the Dodgers rolled the dice and got what they believe to be their third baseman of the future. Hopefully, he pans out, takes over third base next season and becomes a perennial All-Star for the next five years. If that’s the case, the Dodgers have a hit a home run this week. If not, they may have swung and missed on their first big free agent signing of the Andre Friedman/ Farhan Zaidi era.