The Braves, who recently met with top Cuban free agent Hector Olivera, may up their original bid a tad but aren't expected to get close to the $50 million figure bandied about (nor certainly the $77 million mark rumored in one place) and may be counting on their attractiveness as a team with a Cuban-born manager, Fred Gonzalez, a Cuban-born bench coach, Carlos Tosca, and other nonmonetary things.

The Dodgers and Padres are seen as potential favorites who could come closer to the $50 million mark or exceed it, but are not ruling out the Braves as a threat, despite the expectation Atlanta won't have the high bid.

Speaking of Gonzalez and Tosca, an executive with another interested team said, "That does give them [the Braves] an edge."

The Braves, who met with Olivera a couple days ago in Orlando, as Jesse Sanchez of first reported, are said to very much like Olivera, a hitting savant who has a career .323 batting average, .407 on-base percentage and .505 slugging average in his 10-year Cuban career. Olivera, a third baseman, has wowed teams in games and workouts with his hitting ability. However. Atlanta may be leery of overdoing it after its two big purchases in the last regime, Melvin Upton Jr. and Dan Uggla, wound up with albatross contracts.