Cuban righty Odrisamer Despaigne joined infielder Aledmys Diaz in a 90-minute February 13th showcase in front of more than 50 scouts at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. At the time, agent Jaime Torres told Sanchez, "We'll field offers shortly on Despaigne."
Diaz, an infielder, was expected to sign before Despaigne. He inked a four-year, $8MM deal with the Cardinals on March 9th. Despaigne remains unsigned, and hasn't shown up on the pages of MLBTR since the showcase.
I talked to a high-ranking international scouting official to get a scouting report on Despaigne, to perhaps shed some light on why he hasn't signed. The official has seen Despaigne three or four times in person and has seen him dating back to 2010.
The picture painted by the official was not particularly exciting. "I would say his stuff is average across the board. He's got feel and he's got deception, and he knows how to pitch. The biggest thing going for him is his ability to mix and match and change slots and change arm angles. He probably throws four different pitches from different slots and different angles. He never gives guys the same look, and he throws a lot of strikes. But he doesn't have anything plus." The official considers Despaigne's pitches to be fringe-average or slightly above-average, depending on the day.
The official went on to explain where Despaigne might fit in with a Major League team. "I see him as a middle inning type of guy. He's going to have to really throw a ton of strikes to have success. He's really no different than a lot of six-year free agents and non-roster invitees that are out there right now. I think he fits in well to a bullpen probably as a middle inning reliever and potentially a long guy or a No. 5 starter." I asked how Despaigne compares to the Phillies' Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a Cuban pitcher who signed a three-year, $12MM deal in August. That deal was drastically reduced due to injury concerns, which have carried into spring training. The official has always projected Gonzalez as a reliever as well, but feels the Phillies pitcher has "much bigger stuff" than Despaigne.
Despaigne is no different than a lot of pitchers currently on the roster bubble in spring training, opined the official, which could explain why he remains unsigned. An eight-figure contract for Despaigne appears unlikely, but it does seem that he'll pitch in the big leagues in some capacity.