With a talented group of international prospects available, the Los Angeles Dodgers quickly blew past their allotted $2 million signing bonus pool when this year’s international signing period began last July.
Yadier Alvarez, a 19-year-old Cuban right-hander signed to a $16-million contract, and Dominican prospects such as outfielder Starling Heredia and shortstop Ronny Brito, have been among the Dodgers’ haul.
In exceeding their bonus pool money, the Dodgers will pay a 100 percent tax penalty on dollars spent during the current signing period, and won’t be able to sign any international free agents for bonuses over $300,000 in each next two international signing periods, beginning in July 2016.
Given that the club will face those penalties, continuing to spend on players during the current signing period makes all the more sense.
While 24-year-old Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra isn’t subject to the same international signing guidelines given his age, he’s reportedly agreed to a six-year contract with the Dodgers, per Jon Heyman:
yaisel sierra in agreement for 6-year deal with dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 12, 2016
The deal calls for Sierra to earn $30 million, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez:
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 12, 2016
Sierra left Cuba last April and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball late last month. In four seasons spent pitching in the Cuban League, Sierra was 16-21 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.49 WHIP.
He has experience as a starter, but exclusively pitched out of the bullpen during the 2014 season. With a mid-90s fastball Sierra conceivably could compete for a spot in the Dodgers bullpen this spring.