The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have made their much-anticipated entry into the international free agent market Sunday night. Though, it wasn’t by signing Yoan Moncada, who joined the Boston Red Sox, or Hector Olivera, who remains a free agent.
Instead, the Dodgers reportedly agreed to terms with Cuban right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez on an $8 million Minor League contract. The 25 year old shared his happiness and gratitude in joining the Dodgers with Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:
It’s a great privilege to sign with such a great team like the Dodgers,” Fernandez told MLB.com in a phone interview from the Dominican Republic. “I’ve always liked the Dodgers, even back when I never even imagined playing at that level. I’m ready to do what they want me to do. I know there are still things to learn.”
While Fernandez spent his career in Cuba coming out of the bullpen, the expectation is for him to serve as a starting pitcher with the Dodgers. Given his age and years of experience in a Cuban professional league, Fernandez wasn’t subject to the international signing guidelines.
Meaning, the Dodgers don’t need to pay a 100 percent tax on the $8 million signing — as they would’ve with Moncada. Last season, Fernandez pitched in the Serie Nacional and posted a 2.83 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 57.1 innings.
Fernandez recently got his fastball into the 90s and also throws a curveball, slider and changeup from a variety of arm slots. He’s 32-30 with a 3.59 ERA in 177 career games (21 starts) across seven seasons.
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