Like Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, and Hisanori Takahashi before him, Cubs minor league pitcher Guillermo Moscoso has been shipped out for a player to be named later or cash. Unlike the former three, however, Moscoso never got a chance to play with the big league team, and, about that, I’m a little surprised. Well, that is to say I would have been if you’d told me this is how things were going to play out a month ago. (Drew Carpenter was also dealt earlier this year for a PTBNL or cash, and he also didn’t pitch in the big leagues. But he was really struggling, so it’s not quite parallel to Moscoso’s story.)
When the Cubs picked up Moscoso earlier this year off of waivers, I was pleased with the move (as pleased as you can be about a 29-year-old waiver pick-up, anyway). He came with a nice pedigree, had a down year, and looked like a nice rebound candidate that the Cubs could stash at AAA and give a look in the second half after the roster turned over. Moscoso did his part, pitching well enough at Iowa (3.93 ERA over 94 innings, striking out a batter per inning, walking 4.5 per 9, though).
The problem for Moscoso, though, is that when the Cubs did start turning over the roster – think Scott Feldman and Matt Garza – they acquired young, Major League-ready pitchers in the process (Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm). They necessarily take priority over Moscoso in the development plans, and there probably wasn’t going to be a spot for Moscoso in the late year rotation, even with a couple injuries. The Cubs probably decided it was better to send Moscoso to a team that might give him a shot this year.
That team is the Giants, who have certainly needed starters this year. I can’t say whether Moscoso will get a shot, but he’s solid depth for the Giants. The Cubs are getting a PTBNL or cash, so you can guess the PTBNL list isn’t impressive. Moscoso is the kind of guy that you would have hoped could have netted a very small international pool slot (which would have translated to a bigger cash return for the Cubs than the cash return in a deal like this will actually be (because, to a team willing to trade an international slot, $150,000 of international pool money is worth a whole lot less than $150,000 (and, to the Cubs, since they’re over their pool and will pay a 100% tax on the overage, $150,000 in pool money translates to $150,000 in actual money (I’m getting a bit far afield here)))). I’d imagine the Cubs asked around.
In any event, Moscoso goes to the Giants, and the Cubs might get a little something out of it. Hank Schulman’s writeup of the deal suggests Moscoso is going straight into the Giants’ rotation this weekend, which makes me wonder if the return will be slightly better than you usually see on a deal like this (especially if he pitches well).