Guillermo Moscoso

Grading Friday’s waiver claims

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Royals claim RHP Guillermo Moscoso from Rockies and C Brett Hayes from Marlins

Moscoso had a nice 3.38 ERA in 21 starts and two relief appearances for the A’s in 2011 before being sent to the Rockies in last winter’s Seth Smith deal. Like most everyone else on Colorado’s pitching staff, he was a bust last season, finishing with a 6.12 ERA in three starts and 20 relief appearances. Back in a pitcher friendly ballpark in Kansas City, he has a chance to reemerge as a useful swingman. He’ll make just over the minimum, so he’s a nice grab. Grade: B

Hayes, 28, is a very generic backup-type. He gets pretty good marks for his defense, but he’s hit .217/.266/.361 in 332 major league at-bats. The Royals shouldn’t be content to let him play behind Salvador Perez next season. Grade D

Indians claim RHP Blake Wood from the Royals

Wood had a 3.75 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings for the Royals in 2011 before Tommy John surgery, but Kansas City didn’t think it was worth paying him $1 million or so to stick around for another year. It’s the Indians’ gain. Wood throws in the mid-90s and has a decent enough slider. I doubt he’ll take another step forward, but the price was certainly right. Grade B+

Orioles claim 2B Alexi Casilla from Twins

At 28, Casilla might yet have a future as a utilityman. Still, he’s had plenty of chances already and it’s gotten him a lifetime .250/.305/.334 line in 1,580 at-bats. The Orioles would have to pay $1.5 million-$2 million to keep him through the arbitration process, and there’s a real chance they could have gotten him on a minor league contract had they been more patient. Grade D

Twins claim RHP Josh Roenicke and INF Thomas Field from the Rockies

Roenicke is another case of a team throwing away a useful reliever simply because he’s eligible for arbitration. Roenicke, though, doesn’t stand to make much more than $1 million, and that’s a bargain for a guy who had a 3.25 ERA in 88 2/3 innings out of the pen for the Rockies last season. Yes, 88 2/3 innings. His peripherals weren’t good, and I do wonder if the heavy workload will take its toll next year. But for $1 million, there’s hardly any risk. Grade A

Field, on the other hand, isn’t very likely to be useful. He strikes out plenty, and his still-modest minor league power numbers were amplified by the hitter’s parks in the Rockies system. The way I see it, he doesn’t have the glove to make it as a full-time shortstop or the bat to be useful as a utilityman. But at least he’ll fit right in on the Twins. Grade D

Cubs claim RHP Zach Putnam from the Rockies

Exclusively a reliever since mid-2010, Putnam has been only a modest success in the minors with his 89-92 mph fastball-splitter combination, never finishing with a sub-3.00 ERA at any level. It seems doubtful that he stands much chance of surviving in a major league bullpen. Grade D

Brewers claim RHP Arecnio Leon from the Astros

Leon turned 26 in September, and he spent last season amassing a 4.52 ERA as a Double-A reliever. He has a big fastball, but he’s never been a real prospect. Grade D

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.

Diamondbacks hire Mike Fitzgerald to head Research and Development department

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Hazen, new Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox, addresses the media during a press conference to announce his promotion before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on September 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to an official announcement, the Diamondbacks have acquired former Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as their new Director of Research and Development.

Fitzgerald joined the Pirates’ front office in 2012, where he frequently accompanied the team on the road to help breach the divide between analytics and the clubhouse. According to a profile written by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh in 2014, Fitzgerald’s multifaceted approach brought balance and perspective to the organization, whether he was assisting coaches in making statistically sound decisions, optimizing the batting order, weighing in on scouting and personnel decisions, developing more effective defensive positioning, or keeping players and personnel appraised of the latest developments in sabermetrics.

In the wake of Fitzgerald’s departure, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington praised the Diamondbacks for a smart acquisition and said that the club has every intention of finding a replacement analyst, albeit one who will have some big shoes to fill.