Odrisamer Despaigne and Misael Siverio rumors: Twins scouting Cuban pitchers

Koji Watanabe

The Twins are looking in new places for pitchers who may be able to help round out a new starting staff.

The Minnesota Twins sent three scouts to Mexico over the weekend to watch Cuban pitchers Alfredo Despaigne and Misael Siverio perform at a showcase, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

The Twins have been making a complete overhaul of their starting rotation this winter after a season that saw their starting staff post a major-league worst 5.26 ERA. Minnesota has already signed Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey. It appears they are very interested in looking at foreign players to fill any remaining holes.

Siverio defected during summer as the Cuban national team was in Iowa for an exhibition series. His leaving the team in pursuit of an MLB gig prompted Cuba's manager, Victor Mesa to say, "He came with us because he's a left-hand thrower but he's not that great of a pitcher." Mesa continued on to say he sees Siverio as a minor league pitcher at best.

During the 2013 season, Siverio made 20 starts for Villa Clara in the Cuban Serie Nacional. He struck out 81 batters and posted a 1.90 ERA, his best season since joining the team in 2008. He worked mostly as a reliever early in his career, but has been a member of Villa Clara's starting staff since 2011. He will be 25 years old next season.

Despaigne has had a number of teams interested in him already. The Phillies, Yankees, Mariners, Mets and Giants all watched him throw in Spain earlier in the year. He has been planning a Mexican showcase for some time in an effort to make it easier for MLB teams to watch him pitch. The 27-year-old has played for the Industriales over his career. In 2013, he posted a 3.27 ERA over 23 starts, though his stats took a dip as the season wore on. He also struck out 98 batters in 143 innings.

The Twins have also shown an interest in Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon this offseason.

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