Since Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman took over the team’s front office after the 2014 season there has been an emphasis on adding pitching depth.
This offseason in particular has proven that, as the team not only re-signed starters Brett Anderson and Brandon Beachy, but also added Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda to the mix.
Friedman was not done there though, as the club has reportedly agreed to a six-year, $30 million contract with Cuban Native Yaisel Sierra.
It appears the Dodgers will first attempt to develop the 24 year old as a starter, but he could eventually transition as a relief pitcher.
Sierra primarily served as a reliever during his time in Cuba, and did so exclusively last season.
While the Dodgers have been aggressive in the international market, Sierra’s reported contract came as a surprise to others and isn’t warranted, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney of ESPN:
There was utter shock in other front offices over what the Dodgers paid for Sierra, a 24-year-old right-hander who hasn’t had a lot of on-field success in Cuba and has had command issues. “They are seeing something that we don’t,” said one NL official. Said another: “We didn’t like him and would not have given him a seven-figure bonus” — $1 million — “let alone the absurd contract he got.” Some other teams had similar assessments of Sierra as being a player who might merit a bid of less than $1 million.
In fours season pitching in the Cuban League, Sierra was 16-21 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. His time as a reliever in 2014 was far from a success as he finished with a 6.10 ERA in 62 innings pitched.
With the pitching depth that Friedman has amassed this offseason, it doesn’t appear there will be a spot for Sierra in the rotation any time soon. A strong spring could propel him to starting for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but a role out of the bullpen appears more likely.