The Dodgers are on the verge of making another significant investment in the Cuban market, as they are nearing a deal with 24-year-old right-hander Yaisel Sierra, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement hasn’t been finalized.
Sierra has drawn comparisons to another Cuban right-hander, Raisel Iglesias, who made 16 starts for the Cincinnati Reds last year. Iglesias signed a seven-year, $27-million contract with the Reds in 2014.
Sierra participated in a Florida showcase event in October, where he pitched three perfect innings against high school-age players.
Sierra’s fastball touched 96 mph that day, according to Baseball America. Sierra told the publication he was pleased with the development of his secondary pitches.
“I worked 24/7 for my slider and changeup,” he said through translator and former big leaguer Alex Sanchez. “I was very excited to throw my slider and changeup because they don’t throw that kind of pitch in Cuba.”
While scouts have raved about Sierra’s potential, the right-hander’s performance in Cuba was uneven. In his most recent season, he posted a 6.10 earned-run average in 62 innings.
The Dodgers will likely develop Sierra as a starting pitcher, but could later move him into a relief role, where he could make a more immediate impact at the major league level.
The Dodgers’ potential deal with Sierra was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
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