Tyrell Jenkins
Rangers' Tyrell Jenkins: Traded to Rangers
Tyrell Jenkins, SP, ATL
12/8/2016
News: The Braves traded Jenkins (elbow) and Brady Feigl to the Rangers on Thursday in exchange for Luke Jackson, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Jenkins finished with seven more walks than strikeouts (26:33 K:BB) in 52 innings with the Braves in 2016, and was hit hard when he did put the ball in the strike zone (11 homers). His 5.88 ERA looks bad enough, but his FIP was almost a full run higher at 6.86. The right-hander also battled some ulnar nerve inflammation late in the year, which caused some numbness in his fingers. It's uncertain how he'll be deployed to begin 2017, but Jenkins seems destined to end up in the bullpen full time.

Analysis: 

Chad Kuhl
Pirates' Chad Kuhl: Currently has inside track to rotation spot
Chad Kuhl, SP, PIT
12/8/2016
News: Kuhl appears to have an inside track to a rotation spot for the Pirates, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle intimated that Kuhl was a favorite for one of the three vacancies behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon during a session with reporters at the Winter Meetings this week. Oddly enough, Kuhl had more success away from home in 2016, posting a 2.72 ERA in 46.1 innings outside of PNC Park compared to a 7.03 mark in 24.1 innings at home. More importantly, he showed signs of progress in the second half, including an 18.8 percent strikeout rate and 3.77 ERA (.250/.311/.399 line against) after the All-Star break.

Analysis: 

Tyson Ross
Tyson Ross: Pirates express interest
Tyson Ross, SP, SD
12/8/2016
News: The Pirates are among the teams that have checked in on Ross (shoulder) since he was non-tendered by the Padres last week, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Ross had surgery in October to remove a rib as a method of treating thoracic outlet syndrome, so his availability for the start of spring training, and subsequently Opening Day, is in question. Estimates pegged Ross as a likely $9 million pitcher if he had received a contract from the Padres, so it's likely that he'll be seeking a one-year deal in a similar range to prove that he's healthy with the hope of cashing in as a free agent after he logs quality innings in 2017.

Analysis: 

Dane Dunning
White Sox's Dane Dunning: Traded to White Sox
Dane Dunning, SP, WAS
12/7/2016
News: Dunning was traded to the White Sox on Wednesday, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports.

He was the third piece in a package that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals. Dunning was used as a reliever at Florida due to the Gators' depth in the rotation, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. He features a mid-90s fastball, a potentially plus changeup and a slider that could develop into a useful third pitch. The White Sox were reportedly quite high on Dunning during the draft process, so it is not surprising he was included in this deal. Look for him to be assigned to Low-A, with a chance to move quickly, as is often the case with pitching prospects in the White Sox's system. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez headlined Chicago's return package.

Analysis: 

Amir Garrett
Reds' Amir Garrett: Competing for fifth spot in rotation
Amir Garrett, SP, CIN
12/7/2016
News: 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.

Analysis: 

Robert Stephenson
Reds' Robert Stephenson: Competing for fifth spot in rotation
Robert Stephenson, SP, CIN
12/7/2016
News: 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.

Analysis: 

Cody Reed
Reds' Cody Reed: Competing for fifth spot in rotation
Cody Reed, SP, CIN
12/7/2016
News: 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.

Analysis: 

Jeff Locke
Marlins' Jeff Locke: Inks one-year deal with Marlins
Jeff Locke, SP, PIT
12/7/2016
News: 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.

Analysis: 

Zach Eflin
Phillies' Zach Eflin: Knees pain-free
Zach Eflin, SP, PHI
12/6/2016
News: Eflin (knee) feels no pain and should be ready for spring training, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Before his season ended due to knee surgery, the 22-year-old was inconsistent across 11 starts, posting a 5.45 ERA. Despite his shaky numbers, the righty flashed some serious big league potential, registering two complete games, one of which was a shutout. He will be vying for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation with the likes of Jake Thompson, Adam Morgan, Alec Asher, and Ben Lively.

Analysis: 

Gerrit Cole
Pirates' Gerrit Cole: In normal offseason program
Gerrit Cole, SP, PIT
12/5/2016
News: Cole (elbow) is taking part in his normal offseason program, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.

Cole was diagnosed with elbow inflammation last August and was eventually shut down for the season. It appears that his recovery is going well and that he should be good to go when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in February.

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