Dodgers, Cuban pitcher Yaisel Sierra finalize $30M deal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reported over a month ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers' six-year deal with free-agent right-hander Yaisel Sierra became official Sunday.

The Cuba native, who was granted free agency by Major League Baseball in late December, came to terms on a $30 million deal with the Dodgers.

Said by the team to be having visa issues when pitchers and catchers reported to spring training Friday, Sierra is now expected to be in Dodgers camp either Monday or Tuesday, according to manager Dave Roberts.

"I've seen video, I like his body, but I haven't seen a whole lot," said Roberts, who has been getting further scouting reports from Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes. "He has an opportunity to make an impact. You still have to see the eye test and see how he adapts as he comes over, but I'm excited."

Scouting reports on Sierra were mixed. Some view Sierra with a limited upside, while his value was driven upward by the fact that to take a chance on the 24-year-old, his signing would not count against a team's international bonus pool limit.

The Dodgers felt he was worth the risk, with reports saying that the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins also were interested.

While Sierra projects as a reliever, the Dodgers are expected to stretch him out as a starting pitcher initially. He has been mentioned as a pitcher who can help the Dodgers as early as this year, likely in the bullpen, although he still has to prove himself.

"If you see him on the right day, you'd say that he can get major league hitters out in a short stint," Byrnes said. "I don't think we want to create any sort of timeline. But that's the goal -- to help us and quickly. The long-range goal is to see if we can make him a starting pitcher. We'll see. I think we'll embrace what we don't know and see where it takes us."

Sierra has a four-seam fastball in the mid-90 mph range, with the Dodgers enamored with his two-seam fastball that he throws in the low-90 mph range. He also has a slider and is working on adding a changeup.

"He's got a lot of power in his arsenal and a good delivery," Byrnes said. "We like his makeup. We've got to keep developing him. He's fairly far along but still has room to grow as we try to turn him into a major league pitcher."

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers placed right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas (rib resection surgery) on the 60-day disabled list.