Dodgers News: Josh Byrnes Details Yaisel Sierra’s Pitch Mix
Dodgers Rumors: Cuban Pitcher Yaisel Sierra Agrees To 6-year Contract

More than one month after reportedly agreeing to terms, the Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing of Yaisel Sierra to a six-year contract on Sunday. The deal is worth a reported $30 million and represents the Dodgers’ latest investment into international prospects.

Sierra defected from Cuba last April and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball in late December. He will turn 25 years old on June 5. Having resolved visa issues and finalized his agreement with the Dodgers, Sierra is expected to report for Spring Training in the coming days.

As was previously reported, the Dodgers will attempt to develop the right-hander as a starting pitcher. Sierra will also begin his professional career in the Minors.

The lucrative contract raised some eyebrows as some National League officials did not value Sierra as highly given his command issues while pitching in Cuba.

The Dodgers however, believe in Sierra’s pitch mix and talent, senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes explained, according to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:

“It’s kind of an interesting history. Like a lot of guys from over there, he’s kind of pitched at all angles, a lot of breaking balls. But we also saw some other things, especially a two-seamer we liked. His four-seam velocity is up to 97-98, his two-seamer is really good, 91-93, the slider — he’s working on a change. He’s got a lot of power in his arsenal, good delivery. We like his makeup, and we’ve got to keep developing him. He’s fairly far along, but still has some room to grow as we turn him into a Major League pitcher.”

In four seasons pitching in the Cuban League, Sierra was 16-21 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Of his 131 games pitched, only 25 came as a starter. Sierra struggled exclusively in a relief role during the 2014-15 season, finishing with a 6.10 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over 62 innings pitched (36 games).

The Dodgers are taking a similar approach with fellow Cuban right-hander Pablo Fernandez, who was signed last May to an $8 million contract. While Fernandez primarily worked as a reliever, Los Angeles immediately began to stretch him out as a starter.