A.J. Ellis C PHI 16 hours ago
Ellis agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Marlins on Wednesday, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.
Known for being great with pitchers, Ellis is the epitome of a player who is better in reality than fantasy. Last year Ellis hit .216, and he has a career .239/.340/.351 slash line with 37 home runs in 555 games. He will serve as J.T. Realmuto's backup, and should catch once or twice each week.
Fernando Rodney RP MIA 16 hours ago
Rodney agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, FanRag Sports reports.
He will have a chance to earn a lot more than the $2.75 million base salary -- the deal is said to many incentives -- while serving as the Diamondbacks' closer. Rodney was excellent during the first half of 2016, posting a minuscule 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances with San Diego en route to an All-Star berth. It was a different story after his trade to Miami (5.89 ERA) as his walk rate skyrocketed, but Rodney, who turns 40 in March, has plenty of closing experience. He has a reputation for making things interesting late in games, but Rodney keeps the ball on the ground with consistency and still misses bats at a good clip.
Brett Oberholtzer RP LAA 16 hours ago
Oberholtzer signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays on Wednesday, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports.
He washed out with the Phillies and Angels last season, and should serve as pitching depth at Triple-A for the Jays in 2017. With a career 15.6 percent strikeout rate, it is hard to see Oberholtzer being fantasy relevant anytime soon.
Dustin McGowan RP MIA 17 hours ago
McGowan signed a one-year contract with the Marlins on Wednesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports.
A non-roster invitee to major league camp last spring, McGowan earned himself a major league contract this offseason on the strength of the a 2.82 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 67 innings for the Marlins. He wasn't a big factor in the late innings, however, racking up just three holds and one save, and it's hard to imagine he'll see a big increase in high-leverage work especially with Miami rumored to be in the market for back-end relievers.
OUTHuston Street RP LAA 17 hours ago
Street is expected to compete with Cam Bedrosian and Andrew Bailey for the closer role in spring training, ESPN.com reports.
Street is set to make $9 million in 2017, but manager Mike Scioscia implied that the high price tag will not lock Street into closing duties. The 33-year-old right-hander battled an oblique injury during the first half and ultimately underwent season-ending knee surgery in August, making just 26 appearances for the Angels. He struggled to a 6.45 ERA when on the mound and both Bedrosian and Bailey fared well when giving an opportunity in the ninth inning. It could be a tight face throughout the spring.
Kelvin Herrera RP KC 17 hours ago
Herrera appears in line to take over as the Royals' closer after the team traded Wade Davis to the Cubs on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Herrera proved plenty capable of handling closer duties while Davis was out with a forearm injury this past season, going 12-for-13 in save opportunities. Herrera was one of the more dominant relievers the game throughout the year, striking batters out at a 30.4 percent clip on the strength of a 15.2 percent swinging-strike rate. He also cut his walk rate by more than half, posting a 4.2 percent mark (down from 9.1 percent). The right-hander throws 97 and can change speeds while mixing in a slider and curveball -- he has a strong case to be a top-10 closer in drafts in 2017.
Hector Rondon RP CHC 18 hours ago
Rondon is no longer in line to close after the Cubs' acquisition of Wade Davis on Wednesday.
Manager Joe Maddon expressed confidence in Rondon on Tuesday, saying Rondon was penciled in as the closer, but it seems Theo Epstein didn't quite share that same level of confidence. The team went out and acquired Davis from the Royals for Jorge Soler, leaving Rondon to presumably fill a setup role to begin 2017. Rondon spent time on the DL in the second half of last season with a triceps injury and struggled upon his return.
Jorge Soler LF/DH KC 18 hours ago
Soler was traded to the Royals on Wednesday in exchange for Wade Davis, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Of the Cubs' young hitters, Soler was the most likely to be moved this winter, as he would have struggled to see the field, and may have been confined to a role as a lefty-mashing bench bat, given the team's other options. In Kansas City, however, he figures to be the everyday right fielder, and could bat as high as fourth or fifth in the lineup. He has a career .258/.328/.434 slash line and 27.6 percent strikeout rate, but there is still considerable room for growth entering his age-25 season. He has plus power and could hit 25-plus homers if he can stay healthy, although the transition to the American League could lead to a bit of a learning curve initially.
Wade Davis RP CHC 18 hours ago
Davis was officially dealt to the Cubs on Wednesday in exchange for Jorge Soler, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
The trade had been rumored for more than 12 hours before it finally became a done deal. It makes sense for both clubs, as Soler would have only been used as a weapon against left-handed pitchers if he remained on the Cubs, and the Royals have bullpen depth to deal from. Davis, who will be a free agent after the 2017 season, will presumably serve as the Cubs' closer, provided they do not sign Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman. A second half elbow issue and a slight dip in velocity compared to his 2015 readings should prompt some caution. His strikeout rate fell from 31.1 percent in 2015 to 26.7 percent last season, and his 9.1 percent walk rate was his highest mark since 2013. That said, it is a pretty favorable situation for Davis, as he will have an excellent defense playing behind him and should be the closer on a team that has a chance to win 100-plus games.
Amir Garrett SP CIN 20 hours 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.