Daniel Moskos joked that he hasn’t received so many social media notifications in his life.
âIt’s absurd,â he said in a phone conversation this week. âIt went well, obviously for good reasons. I’m just not a normal social media person.
âIt was really, really cool,â he said.
Moskos, who pitched professionally for 12 years, including briefly in the major leagues with Pittsburgh in 2011, has taken a winding path to the Cubs. In fact, he’s had two close calls in recent years where he’s almost joined them.
The 2007 No.4 overall pick by the Pirates signed a contract with the Cubs in December 2016. But he never pitched for the organization after they let him down on his physique.
“There was no reason why I would have failed my physical exam and will maintain it until the day I die,” said Moskos, who also spent time in White Sox, Dodgers organizations. and the Padres.
Moskos was never sidelined by injury after that and actually answered the bell for the next 18 months as requested in the Mexican League and Independent Atlantic League with no issues until he had finished playing.
While Moskos has enjoyed success in those 18 months, physical failure has proven to be a difficult reputation to shake with MLB teams.
Seeking an opportunity to return to affiliate ball, he went to train at Driveline Baseball in Seattle in November 2018. He then organized a pro day, and although he did not land a contract, a another opportunity presented itself: to join the training staff of Driveline.
âI fell in love with their development philosophy and this holistic approach to pitching or development,â he said. âIt’s about knowing the biomechanical side of things, the throwing side of the pack, the strength side of things and the planning of the throw.
âIt was just a really easy and smooth way to transition from my playing career to life after baseball. [My wife and I] took advantage of it, and looking back, it was probably a very good decision.
Indeed. After the 2019 season, Moskos began interviewing for positions with MLB teams. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Phillies and Cubs were among those who reached out, he said.
Moskos was in the hands of the Cubs and Yankees and picked the Yankees, who months earlier hired his mentor, Sam Briend, from Driveline as director of pitch development. Moskos has spent the last two seasons as a minor league pitching coach for the Yankees, including 2021 in Double-A.
Now he can play a big part in the Cubs’ launching infrastructure.
The Cubs wanted to hire someone with an area of ââexpertise to “own a specific area,” according to Moskos. He’ll be focusing on pitch design, which is developing things – something he’s been very focused on at Driveline.
The Cubs have seen some turnover on the pitching side this winter. Longtime pitching, catching and strategy associate coach Mike Borzello is no longer with the organization. Brad Mills, the former assistant director, is not at the forefront of production either.
Moskos may remove some responsibilities from Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, allowing Hottovy to focus more on other areas.
âIf he wants to dominate the mechanics, kick start the programming and planning of the game,â Moskos said, âand then I have to dominate the work in the pen on a pitch design front, all of a sudden the sum of our parts is much greater than the individual.
Because as close as Moskos came to join the Cubs in the past, the circle has come full circle. He said he was “incredibly excited” to join the Cubs – well.
âIt’s amazing how baseball works sometimes,â he said. âIt just gives credit to the ‘How can you not be romantic about baseball?’ when things like this happen.