White Sox add first-round bust Daniel Moskos on waivers

Leave a comment

The Pirates made Daniel Moskos the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft, selecting him ahead of Matt Wieters, Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner and Jason Heyward, among others. Five years and 24 1/3 major league innings later, he’s now a member of the White Sox organization after being claimed off waivers.

The selection of Moskos was viewed by most as a mistake right off the bat. In their defense, the Pirates knew Wieters was a better prospect; they just didn’t want to pay the price for him. Instead, they went for what they felt was the best available college pitcher. Unfortunately, there was really no right answer with that strategy. Other than David Price, who went first overall, none of the college pitchers taken in the first round that year have been successes. Ryan Detwiler is the best of the bunch. The supplemental round had Cory Luebke go 63rd overall. Jordan Zimmermann went at the top of the second round.

Moskos ended up bouncing back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen in the minors. He surfaced in the majors as a reliever last year and amassed a 2.96 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. However, that came with just 11 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP. He didn’t make the team out of spring training this season, and he was viewed as the most expendable player on the 40-man roster when the Pirates needed to make an addition earlier this week.

In Chicago, Moskos will get to work with Don Cooper, who has helped turn fellow first-round disappointments Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton and Philip Humber around. He probably has less to work with in this case, but the White Sox must see some potential in his left arm.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Dodgers owner Mark Walter is involved in a scandal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dodgers last owner, Frank McCourt, was a mainstay of the gossip pages. The new administration has been pretty drama free since taking over five years ago. That is, until now.

Multiple outlets, ranging from the New York Post to the Wall Street Journal, have been reporting on a scandal brewing at Guggenheim Partners, the multi-billion investment firm led by Mark Walter, its CEO. Walter is also the head of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the offshoot of the firm which owns the Dodgers. Walter is the Dodgers’ named owner — the “control person” — as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.

The scandal does not directly relate to the baseball team. Rather, it involves allegations that Walter bought a $13 million Pacific Palisades home for a younger female executive named Alexandra Court:

In the past 24 hours, the company has pushed back on multiple reports that CEO Mark Walter will step down; its chief investment officer has claimed on CNBC that there’s “no tumult” at the company; and Guggenheim has denied reports on a real-estate blog and in the New York Post that Walter bought a California mansion for a younger female executive at the company.

The denial regarding who bought the mansion is a bit too cute, though, as the company only denies that Walter bought it or owns it. In fact, the mansion is owned by a holding company that also bought Walter’s personal residence in Malibu. Billionaires don’t go to closings at title company offices, of course. They buy houses through companies and LLCs and trusts and stuff. As such, the claim that Walter didn’t buy the house may be technically and legally true but entirely misleading all the same. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter and Court have a “personal relationship.” Walter, who is married, and the company deny this. Court is on an extended leave of absence.

Walter and Guggenheim are denying that Walter is going to step down as CEO. That remains to be seen. The question for our purposes is whether, if he steps down from Guggenheim Partners, he would necessarily have to step down from Guggenheim Baseball Management and thus relinquish control of the Dodgers. I suspect not — they’re distinct legal entities, and his departure from Partners would be unrelated to stuff having to do with the baseball team — but you never know. It’s not like he put up $2 billion of his personal dollars for the team. There are likely a lot of strings attached and contingencies involved to the arrangement.

Something to watch.