Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra has been granted free agency, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old is now free to sign with any team without restriction, as he is not subject to the international spending limitations.
It’s not clear what kind of signing timeline to expect, but Sierra has already shown his full arsenal on several occasions to major league scouts. Most recently, he faced live batters in a Florida showcase, reportedly drawing rave reviews for his mid-nineties heater and promising slider. Baseball America’s Hudson Belinksky came away impressed, writing:
The righthanded Sierra looked extremely polished on the mound. He repeated his moderate stride very well, consistently landing online and hitting his spots down in the strike zone. Sierra has a clean arm action, with a smooth wrap in the back and ease through release.
As BA’s Ben Badler explains, Sierra possesses “the best pure stuff” of any Cuban pitcher. But he’s never been dominant in Serie Nacionale; at times, in fact, he’s struggled. And Sierra has generally shown “poor command and pitchability,” according to Badler, with his relatively advanced age also limiting his appeal.
It’s certainly possible that Sierra’s recent showcases have upped the price tag, of course. And he is believed to be near big league readiness, which means any investment has some hope of paying off sooner rather than later.
Sanchez has previously suggested that Sierra could receive offers of around $30MM in total value. While it obviously remains to be seen what kind of cash he will be able to pull down, a commitment of that level would likely only be available if teams think he has some possibility of sticking in a rotation.