Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz and pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne are planning on holding a showcase Thursday in anticipation of a quick signing, reports Darren Wolfson of ESPN. Wolfson also notes that the Minnesota Twins will be among the teams scouting the two players.
Despaigne, 27, made 23 starts last season for the Industriales, posting a 3.27 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 143 innings. After an excellent first half of the season he tailed off some later in the year with a 4.25 ERA over his final 11 starts. In 2012, Despaigne had a 2.60 ERA over 26 starts with 128 strikeouts and 66 walks over 169⅓ innings.
Though he has been playing since he was 19, after defecting little was known about him other than his stats and the fact that he throws right-handed. Naturally, that has led to a number of curious teams watching him pitch in recent months. The Twins also went to scout him in mid-January while the Phillies, Yankees, Mariners, Giants and Mets all watched him pitch in Spain earlier in the offseason.
Diaz, 23, has primarily been a shortstop in Cuba, but has generally received mixed reviews for his defense and may need to change positions. Scouts have raved about his potential to grow into a big bat, however. During the 2011-12 season -- his last before defecting -- Diaz hit .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs.
Diaz is currently ineligible to sign after giving a false birthdate on his original paperwork filed with MLB. He claimed to have been born Jan. 8, 1990 rather than his actual birthday of Aug. 1, 1990. The eight-month difference would have made him exempt from MLB's international bonus pools, thus making it possible for him to earn more money.
That punishment is up Feb. 19, however, meaning Diaz will be allowed to sign with any team in just one weeks time. After his multiple months of ineligibility, he is now legitimately exempt from bonus pools. Along with the Twins, the Yankees, Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox have all shown an interest in Diaz.