Officially arriving in the Majors has been an arduous process for Yaisel Sierra since he defected from Cuba last April. The right-hander established residency in the Dominican Republic, then was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball in December.
Sierra and the Dodgers reportedly agreed to a six-year, $30 million contract in January. However, the signing was not finalized until Feb. 21. He received a $6 million signing bonus and increasing annual salaries.
While the 24 year old was officially part of the Dodgers organization, he had yet to arrive at Camelback Ranch for Spring Training.
Sierra reported on Monday, but wasn’t able to join his new teammates in workouts due to immigration paperwork not yet being resolved.
That changed on Tuesday morning as Sierra’s issue was resolved and he was set to begin participating in workouts, per J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group:
Confirmed. Paperwork's in. Yaisel Sierra has been cleared to practice with teammates. #Dodgers
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) March 1, 2016
Sierra will go through an individual program before joining the others pitchers in camp, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA:
Yaisel Sierra is here and will participate in workouts. On his own program for a few days before being integrated with other pitchers.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) March 1, 2016
Sierra isn’t the only Cuban prospect to join the Dodgers for Spring Training, as Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reported a trio of international signings were in camp on Monday:
3 of the #Dodgers young Cuban investments — RHP Yadier Alvarez, OF Yusniel Diaz, IF Omar Estevez – were in minor-league camp today
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 29, 2016
Yadier Alvarez, a 19-year-old right-hander, signed a $16 million contract during the current international signing period. Infielder Omar Estevez, now 18 years old, signed for $6 million. Yusniel Diaz, a 19-year-old outfielder, was inked to a $15.5 million contract.
Since the trio of prospects were subject to the international bonus pools and considering the Dodgers exceeded their allotted bonus money, Los Angeles paid a 100 percent overage tax — bringing the total for three Cubans to $75 million.
Beginning July 2016, the Dodgers will not be permitted to sign international bonus-pool free agents for more than $300,000 in each next two international signing periods.