HAVANA TIMES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are betting big time on Cuban baseball to provide top notch players for their team. The latest acquisition –for US $30 million over six years- is right-handed pitcher Yaisel Sierra, 24, who played for Holguin in the island’s top division league.
Sierra, who had only a mediocre five years playing in Cuba, was appraised to have the tools to become a major asset for the Dodgers. He is the ninth Cuban player to receive a contract with a total investment of over $200 million, starting with the signing four years ago of outfielder Yasiel Puig ($42 million).
Among the Cubans signed by the Dodgers, thus far the only players to see MLB action are Puig and infielders Alex Guerrero ($28 million) and Erisbel Arruebarrena ($25 million). Of these only Puig is expected to be on the opening day roster. Hector Olivera ($62.5 million), first signed by the Dodgers, is expected to be a starter for the Atlanta Braves where he was traded.
During his seasons in the Cuba, Sierra compiled a 4.23 ERA pitching mostly as a reliever. He had a lifetime 16-21 record with 221 strikeouts and 166 walks in 300 innings. He will join the Dodgers training camp in the coming days.
Josh Byrnes, the Dodgers senior VP for baseball operations, was not at all discouraged by Sierra’s average stats in the Cuban league.
“He’s got a lot of power in his arsenal, we like his makeup, he’s fairly far along, but still has some room to grow as we turn him into a Major League pitcher,” said Byrnes.