The Orioles have acquired a pitcher from the San Diego Padres after all, reports MASN's Roch Kubatko. Who is the pitcher is a great question to ask and one which Ken Rosenthal was the first to answer: the O's will receive the excellently-named Odrisamer Despaigne, a right-handed pitcher, from the Padres in exchange for 19-year-old minor leaguer Jean Cosme.
Despaigne, who turns 29 in April, was signed by the Padres out of Cuba in 2014. In the two big league seasons since, he's pitched in 50 games, 34 of which were starts. He performed capably in the 2014 season, posting a 3.36 ERA over 16 starts, but slid back significantly in 2015, putting up a 5.80 ERA. No surprise, that was enough to get him bounced from the rotation at the beginning of August.
So why bother with Despaigne, then? That's always the question. One reason, perhaps even the biggest reason, is surely that Despaigne has minor league options remaining, according to Kubatko. We know how Duquette loves pitchers he can option. Another is that he still has some potential, and perhaps the Orioles are believers in Despaigne's change-up, which led Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan to proclaim that there's simply nothing like it in baseball.
Whether he'll ever have anything like that half-season of modest success again is an open question as well. Other encouraging signs might be that his ground ball rate has been at 51.1% over his 222 big league innings. While it's not universally true, pitchers who get a lot of grounders seem like decent bets to find success with the O's defense behind them. And unlike many of these pitchers on whom the O's take fliers, Despaigne doesn't have a problem with walks - he only walked 5.9% of batters he faced in 2015.
Will he be a bullpen guy? A rotation pitcher? Time will tell on that. You have to figure they'll try him out in the rotation first.
Still another reason why it's worth taking a flier on the guy is that they didn't have to give up much to get him. Cosme, the Orioles 17th round pick in 2014, is not a player you've likely ever heard of unless you're really deep into Orioles prospects. The Puerto Rican product started 12 games for the short-season A-ball Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2015.
While Cosme showed some promise there - 53 strikeouts against 18 walks in 57 innings of work - he's a long way away from ever being anything. You won't find him on any Orioles prospect list you might consult. That doesn't mean he'll never be anything, but it is a very long journey from the New York-Penn League to Major League Baseball. So the O's have traded him for a player who's already tasted the big leagues and, if he proves to be worthy of remaining at that level, can be controlled for five more seasons.
Maybe the trade won't work out at all. It's still the kind of trade the O's should be making.
Because Despaigne is on the 40-man roster, someone must come off the O's roster. Lefty reliever C.J. Riefenhauser, acquired from Seattle along with Mark Trumbo, receives the one-way ticket to the great DFA in the sky.