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New Oriole Odrisamer Despaigne, like his new rotationmates, is aiming for a bounceback

In need of pitching, the Orioles made a rather unexpected move in acquiring Odrisamer Despaigne, not Andrew Cashner, from the Padres. To the same degree as his new compadres, 2015 saw more valleys than peaks for Despaigne, and along those same lines, there is nowhere to go but up.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Orioles dug deep into the bargain bin, acquiring 28-year-old righty Odrisamer Despaigne from the San Diego Padres, swapping 19-year-old Jean Cosme as compensation.

Firstly, in the only video I could find of Cosme, I saw a couple of things. One being a kid with a nice up and down delivery, helping aid in what appeared to be a pretty good fastball. Secondly, he couldn't throw the damn thing for a strike, leading to a pair of plunks, while also surrendering what looked like a pair of hits, majorly caused by his inability to locate any of his offspeed stuff. Cosme may or may not have a future as a big leaguer, but his present forfeiture in benefit of acquiring someone who is further equipped to contribute today is a savvy risk on the part of Dan Duquette.

Though Despaigne is not going to be the decider of whether or not the O's return to contentious October baseball, he can certainly help...if all goes well. Despaigne may as well have already been an Oriole before Thursday, as his 2015 struggles would make well for an old-fashioned boy's night accompanied by Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez in which all three reminisce on the "good ole days".

Odrisamer Despaigne: 2014-15


GB/FB HR/FB ERA K% LOB%
2014 1.80 7.1% 3.36 16.1% 68.7%
2015 1.86 14.8% 5.80 12.6% 63.4%

With even the smallest of statistic pool it isn't difficult to get a read on what kind of pitcher Despaigne is. Upon an upstart 2014 season, Despaigne managed to keep the baseball in the ballpark, using his funky delivery to somewhat strand runners and induce ground balls.  Minus the El Duque looking windup, location and forcing ground balls is a strategy that has worked in the past for the Orioles, and given the state of the free-agent market and the current incumbents destined to slot in the 2016 rotation, it's a blueprint that's going to have to work again.

In 2014, Despaigne was a pitcher. By that I mean he used his entire repertoire of average to above-average stuff in order to get outs.

Odrisamer Despaigne: Pitch Type, 2014-15

FB% SL% CH% CB% CT%
2014 48.9% - 10.9% 19.3% 20.9%
2015 64.9% 0.2% 9.8% 17.4% 7.7%

The obvious outlier is the crazy-low 48.9% fastball rate, a frequency that also accounts for his sinker, but leaves the cutter as a separate entity. Despaigne is one of those guys that doesn't just throw a flat fastball in hopes to locate, because he can't. He has to do more.

For example, when you go 2-2 against Justin Turner, you start a cutter at his hip and watch it break into oblivion as he flails at a perfectly-located pitch. Though I don't have any idea as to how the at-bat started, the finish is rather impressive. But that's what he can be. He'll sink, cut and redirect the fastball in order to recompense for a lack of velocity, His career 85.3% contract rate isn't going to change anytime soon, which makes the importance of utilizing all of his pitches that much more important.

In 2015, Despaigne didn't do that for whatever reason, and he suffered the consequences.

With presumably more four-seam and two-seam fastballs, Despaigne's cutter turned into nothing more than an afterthought, dropping in usage by 13.2%. His curveball and changeup were also replaced with more fastballs, a recipe unfitting for a pitcher of his makeup.

While a blueprint of more changeups and curveballs works well in theory, the Orioles have yet to buy in on such a hypothesis. Since 2012, only the Nationals and Diamondbacks have thrown more fastballs than the Orioles (62.0%), a philosophy I've discussed before.

The Orioles aren't going to press their hopes on Despaigne, nor should you. I think he has enough of a sample size to indicate he can be successful, though to what extent remains to be seen. If the Orioles allow Despaigne to get back to what has worked, there's no reason to think the O's aren't going to see a plus return on their modest investment. Even so, if Despaigne continues to allow a surge of home runs and his lofty contact rate becomes a problem, he has a locker in Norfolk at a league-minimum cost. There really isn't a losing scenario.

This is a very Duquette-esque move that warrants no applause, but with Spring Training just around the bend (!!!!!), it's a pure upside acquisition that doesn't inhibit the loss of any significant money or future considerations as Yovani Gallardo subsequently would. The Orioles did enough this winter to keep the core intact, making this, in my mind, a very solid move given the circumstances.

In the company of Tillman, Gonzalez and Jimenez, one would believe there is no where to go but up for Despaigne. If the quadruple yet again fails, the Orioles crumble down with them. But what if they don't? Is there another miraculous, inconceivable, tell-your-kids-how-Orioles-Magic-came-back kind of twist to this end?

We'll know soon enough.