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

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.