The Dodgers added to their starting pitching depth Tuesday by signing right-hander Yaisel Sierra to a 6-year contract worth $30-33 million.
Sierra, 24, pitched both as a starter and a reliever for Holguin of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Scouts’ opinions differ on which role would suit Sierra best in MLB. While he drew praise for his smarts on the mound and a smooth, overhand delivery, he had a reputation for being unable to pitch deep into games. To that end, his ceiling isn’t considered that of a front-of-the-rotation ace, but rather a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Baseball America watched Sierra at a showcase in October and produced this report on the right-hander, who throws a fastball in the 92-94 mph range, a sinker and a curveball. BA also put together this overview of Sierra’s repertoire (including video).
Sierra projects to begin the season in the minor leagues with the possibility of becoming a September call-up. He was not subject to international bonus pool limits.
According to a source, the Dodgers were a late entry into the Sierra sweepstakes. The pitcher also drew heavy interest from the Miami Marlins.
The $30 million minimum guarantee is less than what the Dodgers gave Scott Kazmir (three years, $48 million), but more than Kenta Maeda (eight years, $25 million guaranteed). Unlike Kazmir and Maeda, Sierra might not have an impact on the major-league staff until 2017.
As a starter, Sierra would add depth to a 2017 staff that currently projects to include Clayton Kershaw, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir (if he doesn’t exercise his opt-out clause), Alex Wood, and prospects Frankie Montas, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon.