Amir Garrett SP CIN 24 minutes ago
Garrett will compete for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation in spring training, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan reports.
It may seem unlikely that Garrett would be legitimately in the mix for this spot, considering he did not even receive a September call-up last year, despite being on the 40-man roster. However, he has just one minor league option remaining, so the Reds may want to see what they have in Garrett as a big league starter. He turns 25 in May, and is older than Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed, both of whom have logged a handful of big league starts and will be competing withe Garrett in spring training for the fifth starter spot. The 6-foot-5 southpaw's strikeout rate dipped from 25.1 percent to 19.7 percent after getting a promotion to Triple-A, while posting an 11.3 percent walk rate -- his worst such mark since he was in rookie ball in 2012. At this point, it is hard to suggest Garrett profiles as more than a No. 4 starter, and he may be better suited for a high-leverage relief role in a Reds bullpen that is sorely lacking a power lefty.
Robert Stephenson P CIN 35 minutes ago
Stephenson will compete for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation in spring training, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan reports.
While he maintains his prospect eligibility entering his age-24 season, Stephenson's prospect star has crashed and burned, as he has been unable to fix his control issues at Triple-A or in the big leagues. He posted a 6.50 FIP and 31:19 K:BB in 37 innings (eight starts) with the Reds last year and has posted walk rates above 11 percent at every stop above High-A. His changeup and curveball were effective offerings, but hitters posted a 205 wRC+ against his 93 mph fastball. He will need to significantly improve his command of that pitch if he has any hope of making it as a starter. Stephenson will compete with Cody Reed and Amir Garrett for the fifth spot in the rotation, with Tim Adleman serving as a fall-back option if the three youngsters don't impress in spring training.
Joe Biagini P TOR 42 minutes ago
The Jays are leaning toward keeping Biagini in the bullpen for 2017, rather than moving him into the starting rotation, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet reports.
Following the 2016 season, there was a strong sense that Biagini would be a starter when 2017 rolled around. With the relief market running thin -- and expensive -- the team may have little choice but to keep the 26-year-old in the bullpen. Biagini has made 86 career starts in the minors. Before joining the big league club for the most recent campaign, the righty went 10-7 with a 2.42 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 22 starts for Double-A Richmond in 2015. While he may not start the year in the Jays rotation, Biagini seems bound to start on the bump sooner rather than later.
Cody Reed P CIN 43 minutes ago
Reed will compete for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation in spring training, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan reports.
A rebuilding team like the Reds can afford to give Reed a fairly long leash in the rotation, even after last season's considerable struggles after he joined the big league roster. Reed has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a plus slider, but MLB hitters absolutely teed off on both pitches last year, so it would seem his fastball command and sequencing are the two areas he needs to address if he wants to be a starter long term. He will be competing with Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett for that fifth spot, with Tim Adleman serving as the fall-back option if none of the youngsters do enough to win the job. If Reed is not in the rotation, he could work out of the bullpen to continue to gain experience against big league pitching, or he could remain stretched out at Triple-A, as he has three minor league options remaining.
Ian Desmond SS/LF/CF TEX 1 hour ago
Desmond agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies on Wednesday, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.
There could be another shoe or two to drop, as it is unclear where Desmond will see everyday at-bats on this current Rockies roster, however, he will certainly be in the lineup every day, one way or another. Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon have long been rumored as potential trade candidates, which would be one way to open up a spot for Desmond. Another option would be finally transitioning Gonzalez to first base, which would also open up a spot in the outfield. Rosenthal also speculates that Desmond will play some first base this season, although that would seem to be a waste of his defensive versatility. This is obviously an excellent development for Desmond's fantasy value, as Coors Field is notorious for boosting player's batting averages, and that is the one aspect of Desmond's game that has been unreliable in recent seasons. The one negative is that Desmond now appears unlikely to move back to shortstop anytime soon, with Trevor Story entrenched there in Colorado. This signing means the Rockies will forfeit the No. 11 pick in next year's draft, which is a steep price to pay. The deal comes with a $13 million club option for a sixth year.
Adam Frazier 2B/LF/RF PIT 1 hour ago
Frazier will take over the team's primary utility role in 2017 following the departure of Sean Rodriguez, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
He saw playing time at second base, third base and in the outfield, but will only qualify in the outfield in fantasy leagues with a 20-game minimum to start the season. Frazier hit .301/.356/.411 in 160 plate appearances. While he lacks power and isn't an effective base stealer -- he's been thrown out in 40 of 93 minor-league stolen base attempts -- the left-handed hitter could help fantasy teams in the batting average category. He has little competition for the utility role with Rodriguez landing in Atlanta.
Jeff Locke P PIT 1 hour ago
Locke agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Marlins on Wednesday, the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer reports.
Locke will compete with Tom Koehler for the fifth spot in Miami's rotation. He has a career 4.41 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 644.1 innings, and has not posted a strikeout rate north of 18 percent since 2012. Last year was perhaps Locke's worst professional campaign, as he notched a 5.44 ERA and his strikeout rate fell to an abysmal 12.9 percent.
Jorge Soler LF/RF/DH CHC 2 hours ago
Soler will be traded to the Royals on Wednesday in exchange for Wade Davis, provided both players pass their physicals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Due to the Cubs' surplus of outfield bats, Soler wouldn't have had an everyday role had he remained with the team to begin 2017, but the move to the Royals will significantly improve his outlook. Soler should be the leading candidate to play regularly in right field, with Lorenzo Cain shifting over to center field to clear room for him. While Soler hasn't lived up to expectation through his first three MLB seasons, he's still just 24 years old and carries plenty of pop in his bat. The opportunity to see more consistent at-bats with the Royals should give him his best chance to date to unlock some of his immense talent.
Wade Davis RP KC 2 hours ago
Davis will be traded to the Cubs on Wednesday in exchange for Jorge Soler, pending physicals for both players, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
It will be a straight one-for-one swap, with the deal likely to be finalized later in the day. The addition of Davis, who is set to become a free agent next winter, signals that the Cubs plan to insert them into the closer's role in place of Aroldis Chapman, who is seeking a long-term contract. Though he regressed a little bit during an injury-plagued 2016 campaign, Davis was still quite exceptional when healthy, turning in a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 47:16 K:BB ratio over 43.1 innings. With Davis headed to Chicago, Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria are now the top in-house options to assume closing duties for the Royals.
Hanley Ramirez 1B/LF/DH BOS 3 hours ago
Ramirez could still play some first base this coming season as part of a platoon with the newly acquired Mitch Moreland, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.
While it was never stated as such, Ramirez was always seen as a replacement for David Ortiz as Boston's designated hitter. And now that Ortiz has moved on, Ramirez could easily slide into that role full time while Boston makes the lefty-hitting Moreland the everyday starter at first base. But not so fast. Having a classic left/right platoon at first base allows manager John Farrell to use the designated hitter spot as a way to take advantage of certain matchups and give his everyday players the occasional day off from the field.