The Royals were busy this afternoon shifting players around to land at an even 40 man roster.
To accommodate these moves, the Royals designated three players for assignment: outfielder Jason Bourgeois and pitchers Tommy Hottovy and Jeremy Jeffress. They have ten days to release, waive or trade the trio. If they clear waivers they could be assigned to Omaha but remain off the 40 man roster. Manny Pina was outrighted to Omaha as well. Earlier in the week, Jeremy Guthrie was set to become a free agent and Joakim Soria‘s 2013 option year was bought out.
Oh, and Blake Wood was claimed on waivers by the Indians.
Wood was due for his first year of arbitration but was coming back from Tommy John surgery. In 119.1 relief innings in 2010 and 2011, he had a 4.30 ERA and a 97 ERA+.
The claim of Moscoso is interesting. After snagging Chris Volstad and trading for Ervin Santana, the Royals continued to pile up pitchers who could compete for a spot on the staff. Moscoso has spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Rangers, A’s and Rockies. In 2011, he made 21 starts and had a 3.38 ERA. Pretty good, right? In 2012 with Colorado, he had a 6.12 ERA. Even in Triple A in 2012 (for Colorado Springs) he struggled, putting up a 6.13 ERA. He worked almost entirely out of the bullpen with Colorado but started in every appearance in the minors.
So which Moscoso is the real Moscoso?
He’s pitched in some extreme environments. Oakland is notoriously helpful to pitchers and his 2.42 ERA in 74.1 home innings versus 4.70 ERA in 53.2 away innings suggests he gained a lot just by the ballpark. By that same token, in 2012, he was much better away from Coors Field (2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings) than he was in the mile high ballpark (9.11 ERA in 26.2 innings). Overall, he has a 4.16 ERA in 192.2 innings, good for a 103 ERA+ (which does factor in the ballpark in the calculations). His BABIP with Oakland? .221. In Colorado? .378.
So the hope is that he could be an average spot starter or long reliever in the mold of Luis Mendoza. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (51%), so perhaps Kauffman Stadium will help depress some home run numbers. It’s worth seeing what he can do in spring training at least. He had an 8.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors and a better than two-to-one ratio in the majors, so there’s a hint of promise. If he doesn’t make the team, they could try to sneak him back to the minors in the last week of spring training. The Royals had success with Felipe Paulino and Jeremy Guthrie after they left Colorado, so Moscoso may follow that trend.
Hayes seems like a depth move. The Royals already have Adam Moore and Brayan Pena behind Salvador Perez, with Pina back in Omaha. Perhaps by taking on Hayes, the Royals may opt to non-tender Pena. Hayes was a second round pick by the Marlins in 2005 and had a .217/.266/.361 slash line in 357 plate appearances with them. He threw out 29% of would-be basestealers in the minors but 26% in the big leagues.