The Los Angeles Dodgers have opened their hefty pocketbooks by reportedly agreeing to a six-year deal with Cuban right-handed pitcher Yaisel Sierra.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported Tuesday on the agreement between the Dodgers and Sierra. Jesse Sanchez of confirmed the deal, adding it will be worth between $30 million and $33 million. 

Sierra’s market began heating up over the weekend, with Ken Rosenthal of noting the 25-year-old was “expected to beat” the deal Cincinnati gave to Raisel Iglesias (seven years, $27 million) in June 2014. 

After defecting from Cuba last April, according to Sanchez, Sierra was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Dec. 28. He was also not subject to MLB’s international spending rules because of his age and professional experience in Cuba. 

With the Dodgers losing Zack Greinke to free agency as well as uncertainty around oft-injured starters Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu, they badly needed to add rotation depth behind Clayton Kershaw. They did sign left-hander Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal in December to serve as the No. 2 pitcher. 

Sierra’s eventual MLB role is very much uncertain. He threw more than 100 innings only once in five professional seasons in Cuba. In a total of 300 innings during that time, he had 221 strikeouts and 166 walks. His ERA increased in his last three years, ballooning to 6.10 in 2014. 

Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA did note Sierra showed a 94-96 mph fastball and a plus slider when he had a three-inning look at him, and he believes that a 2016 MLB debut is possible. 

Whatever Sierra’s role with the Dodgers will be, the front office is still piecing this roster together for 2016. Arizona and San Francisco have improved this winter, while the Dodgers don’t look as imposing on paper due to the loss of Greinke. 

Sierra isn’t going to replace one of the National League‘s three best pitchers from last season, but he gives the Dodgers much-needed upside and depth for next season as they look to keep their National League West crown.


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