Odrisamer Despaigne Rumors
The Twins announced yesterday that All-Star closer Glen Perkins underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee. Perkins, who saved 36 games for the Twins with a 2.30 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Here's more out of the Twin Cities...
- Joe Mauer is symptom-free after missing the final 39 games of the regular season with a concussion, GM Terry Ryan told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. There's been chatter of moving Mauer to first base to preserve his health in the Minnesota media, but both Ryan and Mauer himself have said that Mauer will catch in 2014.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN writes that the Twins were in on Dalier Hinojosa prior to his $4.25MM agreement with the Red Sox over the weekend. Though Hinojosa has pitched as both a starter and a reliever, the Twins viewed the Cuban righty as a starter.
- Wolfson adds that the Twins will watch Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne and Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz in Mexico in the coming weeks. Despaigne's agent said yesterday he expects to negotiate a contract with a Major League team while in Mexico.
It's been a busy week for Cuban defectors, with Jose Dariel Abreu signing a record six-year, $68MM contract with the White Sox last week and Alexander Guerrero agreeing to a deal with the Dodgers for $28MM over four years earlier today.
Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald writes that another Cuban defector, right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne, has worked out for teams in Spain but plans to travel to Mexico to put on a bigger showcase for MLB clubs (Spanish link). According to Ebro, the Phillies, Yankees, Giants, Mariners and Mets have all seen Despaigne throw in Barcelona, but the showcase in Mexico "will have a more official character."
"Everything's ready and the paperwork arrived quickly for Odrisamer. Since word got out about his escape, teams from the Majors began to get interested in the young man, and this interest has continued growing. In Mexico he'll try out in front of the scouts, and we'll negotiate the contract there."
Despaigne, who pitched this season at 26 years of age, is a veteran of eight seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional. He owns a lifetime 51-39 record with a 3.65 ERA but was much better in his final season, posting an ERA of just 2.58. According to a recent report from Diario De Cuba, Despaigne has yet to be cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for providing the translation for this post.
In what might be the most eclectic collection of names to ever headline a division notes post, here's the latest from the AL Central...
- Despite the Tigers' late-game problems this season, Dave Dombrowski has no regrets over not acquiring a proven closer last winter, the general manager tells MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. "We didn't feel there was a lock-down, shut-down option in the wintertime that fit in with what we were trying to do, role-wise and financially," Dombrowski said. "Other people may think differently, but there weren't a lot of guys out there, and we felt we had options internally. Now, it may have taken some time, but we still have a chance to do that."
- Joaquin Benoit has recently taken over the closer's role in Detroit and pitched well, which could erase any plans the Tigers had to acquire a stopper at the deadline. "Where are you going to go out and get a guy with better stuff than Benoit?" Dombrowski said.
- Marten Gasparini, the 16-year-old Italian prospect who signed a $1.3MM contract with the Royals, spoke to Fangraphs' David Laurila about his transition to North America.
- The Twins haven't asked agent Jaime Torres about the location of Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne's showcase in Barcelona tomorrow, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link). Wolfson notes in a follow-up tweet that this just means the Twins haven't informed Torres, not that they won't attend altogether, and Wolfson says the Twins "have a book" on Despaigne.
- Byron Buxton holds the top spot on Baseball America's midseason ranking of the top 50 prospects in the sport. The Twins outfielder "is even better than expected with power, speed, defense and an extremely advanced hitting approach," states BA's staff report. Buxton was ranked as the No. 10 prospect in Baseball America's preseason rankings but has risen to No. 1 after hitting .344/.424/.548 with nine homers and 33 steals in 366 PA at the low and high-A levels this season.
- In AL Central news from earlier today, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported that Twins right-hander P.J. Walters had cleared outright assignment waivers.
Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has generated quite a bit of buzz with his showcases of late, with some reports suggesting that he could command as much as $60MM over five years. He may not be the only Cuban right-hander on the market for long though, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Odrisamer Despaigne is hosting a showcase for MLB teams in Barcelona next week (MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez notes an open workout Tuesday afternoon). Passan adds that Despaigne is drawing "strong" interest, though not as much interest as Gonzalez (Twitter links). Both right-handers are represented by agent Jaime Torres.
Sanchez tweets that Despaigne has been working to establish residency in Spain, but it could still be another three to six weeks before he can file for free agency. Like other foreign prospects, Despaigne will also need to be cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). According to a report from the Associated Press (via ESPN), Despaigne defected from the Cuban National team at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as the team traveled to a tournament in the Netherlands.