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

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.