Another Cuban player has managed his way onto another major league team. The San Diego Padres have completed their contract with Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. The Padres have signed Despaigne to a minor league deal, with him being guaranteed a $1 million bonus. The deal was reported in early April by Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, but it was not completed until yesterday due to waiting for a physical to be completed and a visa to enter the United States.
Sources tell Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, that Despaigne will go to extended spring training for the Padres, and then he will likely head to Double-A San Antonio. He needs to go to the minor leagues first in order to build up arm strength. Cotillo expects Despaigne to be in majors for the Padres this season.
San Diego’s starting rotation does not look like it really needs Despaigne at the moment, as it currently is posting a 3.96 ERA over the first month of the season, which is good enough for seventeenth best in all of baseball. The Padres starting rotation has been hurt by the injuries of pitchers Cory Luebke and Josh Johnson. Both of the pitchers were declared out for the season due to them needing Tommy John surgery. This signing of the Cuban hurler is a low-risk addition, as Despaigne provides depth.
Odrisamer Despaigne pitched in Cuba for eight seasons before defecting. There he posted a career 61-43 record, while compiling a 3.55 ERA with a 1.754 K/BB ratio. It is believed that Despaigne could fill in as a long reliever in the big leagues.