2014 Dodgers in Review: Catcher/Criminal Miguel Olivo

AAA  81 .368 .407 .605 n/a 4 n/a
MLB 13 .217 .240 .304 49 0 -0.1

What happened in 2014: Oh, lord.

You know, I’ve been writing these reviews for a long time. I had to deal with Andruw Jones‘ horrendous 2008, and Manny Ramirez‘ 2009 suspension. I’ve written about players having great years and awful ones, injured ones and healthy ones. I’ve talked about players we’ve liked, and players we’ve hated. I don’t think we’ve ever had anything like this.

Miguel Olivo bit a man’s ear off

But okay, fine, we’ll get to that in a second. Let’s at least pretend this is going to be about baseball for a minute. The Dodgers handed Miguel Olivo a non-roster invite on Jan. 22, and it was so easily overlooked that when I posted about it, it wasn’t even about any sort of baseball analysis. It was about making Jesus Flores & Ramon Castro jokes, and pointing out that Olivo’s 2013 had ended early when the Marlins placed him on the restricted list in June, after he’d walked out on the team amid complaints about playing time. Maybe this shouldn’t have all been surprising.

Miguel Olivo bit a man’s ear off

With A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz, and Drew Butera around, Olivo never really had a chance to make the team barring a run of injuries, yet he was still so upset that he wasn’t invited to fly to Australia for the season-opening series that he requested his release in mid-March. The Dodgers, presumably without laughing, declined, and instead assigned him to minor league camp. He stayed with Albuquerque through the first month of the season, hitting very well — because Albuquerque — but since people couldn’t ever remember how Albuquerque works, Brim actually had to spend precious pixels talking about it on April 21:

We should all know the danger of citing raw Albuquerque statistics by now, and even after adjusting for environment Olivo is putting up ridiculously unsustainable numbers. He currently has a .533 BABIP and a 50% HR/FB rate, both of which are crazy even for the PCL. Even if Olivo stays in Albuquerque, those numbers will regress in a big way.

The current catching tandem of Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera has been awful. But Olivo’s major league offense leaves a lot to be desired. He has a .241 OBP since the start of the 2012 season. He’s also a poor defender and pitch framer. Federowicz’ offense will regress (at least a little bit) in the positive direction with time. He is absolutely a better option than Olivo

But with Ellis still recovering from knee injury, the team eventually did swap Olivo for Federowicz on April 30. He got into seven games, doing little (although he did somehow hit a triple), before going back down on May 14 when Ellis returned. Chad also captured this GIF of Olivo doing… something.

GIF Link

Miguel Olivo bit a man’s ear off

Olivo never did play in Albuquerque again. He joined the Isotopes on a road trip in Fresno, then accompanied them to Salt Lake, which is where he was on May 20 when I was at Citi Field, and… oh. Ohhhhh, no.

The first I heard of today’s Triple-A dust-up between Miguel Olivo and Alex Guerrero was shortly afterward in the Dodger clubhouse here in New York, where one Dodger reliever walked into the clubhouse with another, saying “Did you hear that Olivo bit Guerrero? He went full Mike Tyson on him.” If Scott Boras is to be believed, that’s not an exaggeration, saying that “part of Guerrero’s ear was displaced” and that Guerrero is having plastic surgery. Seriously. This is a real thing that happened. I can’t believe I’m writing it.

That was Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell, though I can’t remember now which was one speaking. I do remember sitting in the press box later, hearing reports that Guerrero might be out for five weeks, and thinking, man, there’s just no way this is real.


Guerrero, as we’ll get to in his review, was almost certainly going to be in the big leagues before the end of the month. Instead, he missed two months and didn’t make it to Los Angeles until a few token pinch-hitting appearances in September. Olivo was immediately suspended and was soon released, later catching on with the Tijuana Toros of the Mexican League. Olivo is now 36, with two consecutive seasons having ended early due to controversy, and hasn’t been a half-decent player since 2009. It’s impossible to see his career continuing after this.

Miguel Olivo bit a man’s ear off

2015 status: He’ll never play in the big leagues again. If he’s not in prison, he should consider himself lucky.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.