The Pittsburgh Pirates designated left-handed reliever Daniel Moskos for assignment today, thus potentially ending his run in the organization. Moskos was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft, which was a highly controversial pick with top catching prospect Matt Wieters on the board. He was touted as a reliever who could move quickly through the system. However, he didn’t make his debut until 2011, and only pitched 24.1 innings in the majors. In that time he posted a 2.96 ERA, although his 11:9 K/BB ratio suggested that the low ERA wasn’t legit.
Moskos returned to Triple-A this year, and has dealt with elbow issues. He was 90-91 MPH at the end of April, a few weeks before going on the Triple-A disabled list with elbow soreness. In the second half of the 2010 season he was touching 97 MPH with his fastball, but never saw that velocity return in 2011 or 2012.
There are a few things this move says. First of all, it shows how far Moskos has moved down the depth chart. He was designated for assignment to make room for an emergency catcher, with Rod Barajas day-to-day. The Pirates opted to keep Doug Slaten over him, optioning Slaten to the minors. Moskos fell behind left-hander Tony Watson last year, which wasn’t a big hit to his status. But falling behind a 32-year-old left-handed reliever is something entirely different.
I don’t think the DFA of Moskos means anything for Fryer. The Pirates will have right-handed reliever Chris Leroux coming off the 60-day disabled list soon, at which point they’ll need a spot on the 40-man roster. The way I see it, they would have had to designate Moskos for assignment at that point in time. So doing it now just allows them to get an emergency catcher in the short-term. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fryer is designated for assignment when Leroux returns.
This move doesn’t necessarily end Moskos’ time in the organization. If he clears waivers, the Pirates can outright him to Triple-A. He’s not eligible for minor league free agency until after the 2013 season. It’s possible that another team could claim him and take a chance on him, as left-handed relievers are always in demand. But considering he’s been throwing 90-91, has dealt with elbow injuries, and was just removed from the roster instead of a 32-year-old journeyman, I’d say the chances of Moskos getting claimed are small.