So what about Despaigne?
You might have noticed the news Friday that the Padres (finally) signed 27-year-old Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne to a Minor League deal. If not, here’s the story.
This would have likely happened sooner but Despaigne had to obtain a visa and pass a physical. The Padres saw him several times play in Mexico and he worked out at the team’s Spring Training facility in February.
The deal is a Minor League deal, as mentioned, with a $1 million bonus. Pretty low risk investment.
So what to expect?
He will head to extended Spring Training in Arizona for at least two weeks to get in game shape. Now matter how much work he’s done to get ready to pitch, he’ll need to get in game shape, arm and all.
He’ll likely head to Double-A San Antonio, a far better pitcher environment than, say, than the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes said Despaigne reminded him of the “old generation” Cuban pitchers who have come to the big leagues before him, such as Orlando Hernandez, Jose Contreras and Livan Hernandez. in the sense that he is a creative pitcher in terms of the number of pitches he’ll use and also in terms of various arm angles.
From a velocity standpoint, Byrnes said Despaigne has topped out at 94 mph, but certainly sits lower than that.
My guess is we’ll see him here in San Diego at some point. He’s an intriguing guy, to be sure. But the fact that his deal was a Minor League one with a small bonus leads me to believe that there’s probably not much of a ceiling.
Then again, who cares? If he can help you win games today, does it really matter what the guy will be in two, three, four years?
– Corey Brock