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ANAHEIM ANGELS
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Claimed LHP Christian Friedrich off waivers from the Rockies; designated INF-R Taylor Featherston for assignment. [2/5]

Once a first-round pick and top prospect, Friedrich never pitched to expectations with the Rockies—not even after transitioning to the bullpen. So why are the Angels wasting time with a 28-year-old bust who couldn't satisfy the Rockies? Obviously because Billy Eppler has a notion that Friedrich can help the Angels in relief. Part of that thinking likely stems from the oft-correct assertion that every pitcher improves after leaving Coors Field; another part is probably based on a simple statistic: Friedrich has held lefties to a .240 multi-year True Average—a far-from-elite mark that nonetheless suggests he could slot in as the new Cesar Ramos (read: second lefty). Given the low cost and talent level at the bottom of the Angels' 40-man roster, it's hard to stress about them swapping fringe parts. —R.J. Anderson

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Acquired RHP Odrisamer Despaigne from the Padres in exchange for RHP Jean Cosme. [2/5]

Last season, the Orioles starting rotation was a gross weakness. With the sixth-worst ERA (4.53) and fourth-worst FIP (4.47) in the majors, the not-yet-rebuilding O’s might have endeavored to address this talent gap. Instead, the team waved goodbye to their most productive starter—Wei-Yin Chen—and did nothing to address the team’s needs in free agency.

Instead, the Orioles are scraping the bottom of the barrel, and by trading for Despaigne, they almost seem to be waving a white flag on 2016. I truly have no taste for nitpicking a team’s offseason—I’m well aware that Baltimore has a particular knack for picking up useful pieces on the cheap—but importing this pitcher from San Diego seems like a move that won’t move the needle on the upcoming season.

Despaigne is very much in the traditionally Cuban (see: the Hernandez brothers) mold of starting pitchers: arm angles aplenty, several pitches, and always another trick in the back pocket. Deception and guile only gets you so far, however, and after a decent debut in 2014, he was crushed over about 126 innings last year. His cFIP was 121, placing him among the worst starters in the game by true talent level over the season. Worse yet, his ERA (5.80) and DRA (5.34) demonstrated an even worse season by on-field performance standards.

As Jeff Sullivan has noted in the past, Despaigne possesses a fascinating changeup, due to its huge separation in velocity against his fastballs. And as we know from recent research, changes with big separation earn loads of groundballs. Ostensibly a groundball pitcher, Despaigne needs those slow rollers if he's to succeed. Of course, like any successful worm-killer, he also needs to limit homers and get a fair amount of whiffs. Allowing 13 dingers, as well as posting one of the league’s worst strikeout rates (13.3 percent), earned him not just those ugly crooked numbers, but a demotion to the bullpen in San Diego to close the season. (And in the ‘pen, he was actually worse—his five-pitch mix did him no favors in short relief.)

Without the advantages provided by pitcher-friendly Petco Park, Despaigne can’t be projected to be above average, let alone anchor any team’s rotation… even one as woeful as Baltimore’s. Instead, the Cuban is likely to duel another junkballer (Vance Worley) as well as Mike Wright for either the fifth starter or long-reliever role in Baltimore. Given the Orioles’ obvious weaknesses in the rotation, they may rely on their depth not in case of injury, but due to catastrophic failure. The error bars on righties Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez, and Kevin Gausman make presidential primary polls look positively reliable.

At the same time, a run of improved control could allow the righty to rip off a run of solid starts. And perhaps if Despaigne takes a shine to the bullpen, he could leverage his cutter and change into improved out-pitch offerings or shine as a double-play inducing option in the middle innings. More likely, he’ll be the type of sixth starter that no team wants to lean on, but invariably requires at some point during the season.

Prior to this deal, the Orioles had neither depth nor substantive talent in their starting rotation, perhaps save the young buck in Gausman. Now? They’re deeper, just not much better. —Bryan Grosnick

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Signed RHP Gavin Floyd to a one-year deal worth $1 million plus incentives; designated RHP Chad Jenkins for assignment. [2/6]

You might have missed it while paying attention to more competitive teams, but Floyd did a bit in Cleveland at the end of the year after spending most of the season rehabbing from a fractured elbow. He appeared seven times, all in relief, and evidently showed his old bosses enough for them to add him to their new team.

Just how might Floyd fit on the Blue Jays? Probably as a security blanket. While the Jays have various options to fill out their rotation—including Jesse Chavez, Aaron Sanchez, and Drew Hutchinson—it never hurts to have another. Besides, there's a chance Mark Shapiro wants to play it slow and steady with his younger arms, which entails sending them to the minors for additional seasoning. In order to take and stand by a development-first approach, you need veteran alternatives. That's where Floyd comes in: he can open the season in the bullpen, and later slot into the rotation when needed.

If the Jays are lucky, they'll never ask Floyd to start a game. Shy of that, Floyd is a fine fallback plan. —R.J. Anderson

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Acquired RHP Jean Cosme from the Orioles in exchange for RHP Odrisamer Despaigne [2/5]

A 17th-round pick in 2014, Cosme is a non-insignificant prospect who could have easily snuck into the interesting section on this year’s Orioles Prospect List. The Puerto Rican right-hander’s fastball features heavy sink, sitting at 92 and touching 95 early in outings but falling to the 89-90 range as he gets deeper into games. Adding bulk to his presently immature frame would do wonders for his velocity maintenance but he’s yet to show noticeable gains since signing. His breaking ball and changeup both sit around 80 mph and project as average pitches at maturity, though the change, as you might imagine, is the less-developed of the two pitches at the moment. He struggles with locating his fastball to the glove side, often missing up and arm side. While he’s generally around the plate, he shows less than tactful command at the moment, and reaching an average level of competency is hardly a given. If that’s the case and the command is fringy or below, he’s a reliever but if it’s fringe-average to average, his three-pitch mix gives him a shot to pitch in the back of a major-league rotation. —Ezra Wise