Yesterday I made a joke that the name “Odrisamer Despaigne” sounded more like an obscure Belgian ale. Well, it does. But it seems that the name attaches to a pretty good pitcher too. Last night Despaigne tossed seven shutout innings and allowed four hits in beating the Giants. And he wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday. He got the start because Andrew Cashner went on the DL.
Not that we should necessarily expect that. The Cuban defector wasn’t exactly sought after like Yoenis Cespedes or Arolids Chapman. The Padres got him on a minor league deal back in early May and spent six weeks in the minors, going 1-3 with a 6.03 ERA between Double- and Triple-A. He’s not overpowering — he works in the low 90s — but he flashed some pretty impressive speed-changes and arm slots last night, throwing four pitches, some in the 60s.
Junk ballers may not be as impressive as fireballers, and Despaigne may have a lot of bumps ahead of him based on his minor league track record, but it was fun to see the highlights of this one this morning.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.