Sonny Gray and Rich Hill are the only two pitchers currently on Oakland's roster who seem like locks to be in the Opening Day rotation. Jesse Hahn (forearm) will need to show he is healthy, and there are performance questions with Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt and Aaron Brooks, so with a strong spring Nolin could find himself in the rotation when the A's break camp. Nolin has better pure stuff than Graveman (the other pitcher acquired from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson deal), and could end up being a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter, especially in that ballpark.
Happ pitched for the Blue Jays during the 2014 season before splitting last season between the Mariners and the Pirates. He had some home run issues with the Blue Jays last time around, but a solid finish to the 2015 season has earned him another deal with his former club. He'll likely slot in at the back end of the Blue Jays' rotation in 2016.
Light was recently added to the 40-man roster as his mid-to-high 90's fastball is far too intriguing to expose to the Rule 5 draft. Telegraphing pitches is fixable. Light, who will open the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, is currently pitching for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He has a 2.25 ERA in 8.0 innings, having allowed two runs, six hits and three walks while striking out eight.
This probably won't directly improve anything other than the young pitcher's style, but there are reasons to be bullish on him heading into 2016. Much has been made about the Orioles mishandling the talented righty, but that won't be an option next year, as Gausman is basically a lock to be in the rotation all year. He averaged 95.2 mph on his fastball in 2015, and still has the overall repertoire to be at least a No. 3 starter.
Paxton threw seven simulated innings Monday and will do so again later this week before shutting down for spring training. Among his 13 starts in 2015, seven went at least six innings, while only three reached the seven-inning threshold, which the aforementioned regimen is attempting to remedy as a part of the Mariners' rotation.
The Royals wanted to protect Zimmer against the Rule 5 draft. His prospect stock is trending up after he finished 2015 strong and, more importantly, healthy. Zimmer could move fast in 2016, probably spending the bulk of the year at Triple-A, with the potential to join the big league club at the end of the year.
He is one of several intriguing pitching prospects in a pretty flush Rays farm system, but probably won't be fantasy relevant until at least 2017. This transaction was specifically for Rule 5 protection.
The top prospect in the Rays farm system, Snell should be fantasy relevant for a good portion of the 2016 season. He was statistically the best pitching prospect in the minors last season, and profiles as a potential No. 2 starter long term.
Alcantara struggled at High-A in 2015, posting a 5.63 ERA in 27 starts. He'll be just 23 years old though by the start of the 2016 season, so the move was likely done to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
The 24-year-old lefty put up a 3.98 ERA (3.21 FIP) in 174 innings at Triple-A last season. He could approach 200 innings in 2016, although he will probably be viewed as a swing man, more than a rotation candidate at the big league level.