2:50pm: The deal won’t be for “big money,” according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Sierra is not viewed as a major pickup, but Houston is quite high on him.
2:24pm: The Astros have reached agreement on a deal with Cuban pitcher Carlos Sierra, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (via Twitter). Sierra, 21, will be subject to international signing rules. Terms of the deal are not yet known.
Interestingly, Sierra was permitted to leave Cuba legally to play in Spain, with plans to come stateside, because he was able to achieve Spanish citizenship. This past season, Sierra looked strong as he pitched in the Canary Islands for the Tenerife Marlins in the Division de Honor de Beisbol, the top baseball league in Spain.
As Sanchez wrote back in April, Sierra boasts a 90+ mph fastball that he can hurl at three different angles. He also throws a slider, a curveball, and a circle-change. Back in October, Sierra displayed his stuff in a showcase for MLB teams and he obviously made a strong impression on the Astros. Sierra showed his stuff again earlier this month and the cash-flush Dodgers were one of eight clubs on hand for that session, as J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group tweets.
Unlike many Cuban players who must defect in order to establish residency elsewhere, Sierra was granted Spanish citizenship due to his grandfather’s roots. He left Cuba legally, flying from Havana to Madrid in February.