Aaron Sanchez
Blue Jays' Aaron Sanchez: Working to strengthen lower body
Aaron Sanchez, SP, TOR
12:45 PM
News: Sanchez has been working alongside the Jays' high performance team to build lower body strength, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports.

Sanchez has been putting in the extra work at the Jays' Dunedin complex. Through the workouts, the 24-year-old has reportedly improved his vertical jump, range of motion and power. Sanchez put in similar efforts last offseason, and that was rewarded with a career year in 2016 that ended with a seventh-place finish in the AL Cy Young voting.

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Chad Kuhl
Pirates' Chad Kuhl: Currently has inside track to rotation spot
Chad Kuhl, SP, PIT
11:30 AM
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.

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Daniel Stumpf
Tigers' Daniel Stumpf: Selected by Tigers in Rule 5 draft
Daniel Stumpf, SP, DET
11:25 AM
News: Stumpf was selected by the Tigers with the 11th pick in the Rule 5 draft Thursday.

The 25-year-old southpaw split time between the Phillies and Royals systems last year, failing to make much of an imprint in either organization. He posted a 2.11 ERA and 26:4 K:BB in 21.1 innings at Double-A for the Royals, but was left unprotected, suggesting that his upside is limited. The Tigers will need to keep him on the active roster all season, otherwise he will be subjected to waivers and offered back to the Royals. Look for him to work out of the bullpen in extremely low-leverage situations.

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Dylan Covey
White Sox's Dylan Covey: Selected by White Sox in Rule 5 draft
Dylan Covey, SP, CHW
11:15 AM
News: Covey (oblique) was selected by the White Sox with the ninth pick in the Rule 5 draft Thursday.

Covey has back-of-the-rotation upside, but he is not ready to turn over a big league lineup. The 25-year-old righty has just 29.1 innings of experience above High-A, and while his 1.84 ERA looks nice, he posted an ugly 26:17 K:BB in that span. The White Sox will need to keep him on the active roster all season, otherwise he will be exposed to waivers and offered back to the A's. An oblique injury ended his 2016 season in May, but he should be ready for the start of spring training. Look for Covey to be used occasionally as a mop-up man in 2017.

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Chris Bassitt
Athletics' Chris Bassitt: On track with Tommy John recovery
Chris Bassitt, SP, OAK
11:10 AM
News: Bassitt (elbow) is on track in his rehab work following Tommy John surgery, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.

The right-hander had the procedure in early May, which may keep him out of the mix for a rotation spot in Oakland until the second half of 2017. Bassitt had some success in 2015 with the A's when he piled up 86 innings over 18 appearances (13 starts) and pitched to a 3.56 ERA, and the organizational need for arms capable of starting should keep the door open for him to remain a starter once he's healthy enough to get back on the mound.

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Garrett Richards
Angels' Garrett Richards: Workload will be 'monitored carefully'
Garrett Richards, SP, LAA
10:55 AM
News: Richards (elbow) will have his pitch counts and innings workload monitored carefully in 2017, the Orange County Register reports. "You're not going to see Garrett throwing 220 innings next year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I hate to put a floor on (the innings) and hate to get into a range right now, but I can tell you that we are going to be very, very careful with where Garrett is and make sure that he rebounds and maintains his stuff."

To date, everything seems to be going as planned for Richards' recovery from a torn UCL, as he opted for stem-cell therapy instead of Tommy John surgery. Richards was one of several Angels pitchers to succumb to an arm injury in 2016, but Scioscia indicated that there won't be any revisions to the team's program during spring training.

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Tyson Ross
Tyson Ross: Pirates express interest
Tyson Ross, SP, SD
10:45 AM
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.

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Williams Perez
Williams Perez: Released by Atlanta
Williams Perez, SP, ATL
9:30 AM
News: Perez was released by the Braves in advance of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.

Perez started 11 games for the Braves in 2016, finishing the year with a 6.04 ERA across 53.2 innings. The end of his season was characterized by injuries, however, as the 25-year-old sustained an elbow impingement not long after returning from the 60-day DL. As a result, he was deemed expendable by the Braves, giving the team a chance to add another player in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

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Chris Heston
Mariners' Chris Heston: Traded to Mariners
Chris Heston, SP, SEA
12/7/2016
News: Heston (oblique) was traded to the Mariners on Wednesday for a player to be named later, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports.

Considering the Giants may have left Heston off the 40-man roster to accommodate Mark Melancon, it is not surprising that it only required a PTBNL for the Mariners to net the 28-year-old righty. Heston may be behind Nate Karns and Ariel Miranda in the pecking order for the fourth and fifth starter spots in Seattle, but he has a better chance of eventually joining that rotation than if he had remained in the Giants' system. He has a career 4.04 FIP, 1.37 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 188 big league innings, mostly working as a starter. An oblique injury ended his 2016 season, but he should be recovered by the time spring training rolls around.

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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.

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