Yesterday, the Padres did something they hadn’t really done before, become active in the international free agent market. They took an interesting first step signing Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne to a minor-league contract including a $1 million signing bonus according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.
In today’s day and age of baseball, teams are looking through every nook and cranny throughout the world to get talent for their baseball teams and this includes Cuban defectors. Just look at what the Dodgers have done with Yaisel Puig and Alexander Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarruena. Look at what Jose Abreu is doing for the White Sox this season.
The Padres have vowed to be more active in the international free agent market and with the new restrictions coming in on it, it’s gonna open up some spots for the Padres to be more involved where they haven’t been before.
The Padres did look at Aledmys Diaz, and it wouldn’t shock me if they look at Daniel Carbonell or Korean third baseman Jeong Choi, who could make a move to MLB next year. Choi would be an interesting replacement for Chase Headley if he were to move on via free agency.
Despaigne may not set the world on fire. Heck, he may not even make the majors, and if he does, he may just be a swingman out of the bullpen. However, the Padres dipping their toe in the international free agent waters is a good thing and could be a sign of things to come.