Cubs' Brett Anderson: Signs with Cubs
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/23/2017) Anderson agreed to a deal with the Cubs on Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

The deal is still pending a physical, which is an important note because Anderson has dealt with a myriad of injuries during his career. In his last healthy season with the Dodgers (2015), the lefty posted a respectable 3.69 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 180.1 innings. He will likely supply starting pitching depth for the Cubs in 2017.

Rays' Jose De Leon: Traded to Rays
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/23/2017) De Leon was traded to the Rays on Monday in exchange for second baseman Logan Forsythe.

This is a nice get for the Rays, as De Leon has been regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. The young righty did struggle in his four starts with the Dodgers in 2016, posting a 6.35 ERA and 15:7 K:BB over 17 innings. He may begin the season in the minor leagues, but is likely to make his way to the big league club sometime during 2017.

Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman: Needs to elevate ball in 2017
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/23/2017) Zimmerman's poor performance at the plate in 2016 can be traced to his inability to get the ball in the air,'s Mike Petriello reports.

The veteran slugger finished last season 12th in exit velocity at 93.7 mph but 150th in launch angle at 7.9 degrees, indicating that while Zimmerman was regularly hitting the ball hard, he was also mostly hitting it on the ground. If he can tweak his swing to add some more loft, he could rebound in a big way at the plate, but it's fair to ask whether the shoulder issues that forced his move to first base have also contributed to his inability to elevate the ball. Keep a very close eye on his performance this spring, and whether he's hitting more line drives and fly balls, before you take a chance on adding Zimmerman to your fantasy roster.

Rangers' James Loney: Signs minor-league deal with Rangers
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/20/2017) Loney signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers on Friday, reports.

His deal would expand to $1M if he is able to make the major league club. Loney backed up Lucas Duda at first base last season, and slashed .265/.307/.397 across 366 plate appearances in the process. It is unclear at this point where Loney would fit in with the Rangers' roster should he ultimately make the team.

Phillies' Maikel Franco: Focused on conditioning this offseason
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/20/2017) Franco said he spent the offseason focusing on his conditioning, Ryan Lawrence of the Philly Voice reports. "I've lost five to seven pounds right now," Franco said. "I feel better. I feel great. My body is in good shape right now."

Every year before spring training there are stories of athletes claiming they are in the best shape of their life. Improved conditioning does not necessarily equate to improved performance on the field, but it is good to see Franco, who is entering his third season, focused on making improvements to try to become a better player. Franco had a solid first half last season, hitting .269 with 18 homers, but he slumped after the All-Star break and finished with an OPS more than 100 points lower than in 2015. The Phillies have added some additional offensive firepower this offseason in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick, which will help take some pressure off of Franco. He has the talent to reach 30 homers this season if he puts everything together.

Phillies' Tommy Joseph: Fully recovered from wrist injury
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/20/2017) Joseph is fully recovered from the wrist tendinitis that forced him to cut his stint in the Dominican winter league short this offseason, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia reports.

Joseph remains on track to open this season as the Phillies' regular first baseman. He said his goal this season is to improve his on-base percentage after he posted a .308 on-base percentage last season while splitting time at first base with Ryan Howard. He already showed some signs of improvement last season when he walked at a 3.7 percent clip in the first half, but improved that to 8.6 percent while also cutting his strikeout rate from 24.7 percent to 18.9 percent after the All-Star break. He has 30-plus homer upside this season with everyday playing time.

Phillies' Michael Saunders: Finalizes deal with Phillies
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/20/2017) The Phillies officially announced the signing of Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018 on Thursday, Corey Seidman of CSN Philadelphia reports.

Saunders will earn $9 million this season and the club option for 2018 is worth $11 million with escalators that could push the total value to $14 million. He will start in right field for the Phillies this season and will be trade bait this summer if the team is not in playoff contention. Severino Gonzalez was designated for assignment to make room for Saunders on the Phillies' roster.

Josh Johnson: Retiring from baseball
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/19/2017) Johnson plans to retire from baseball rather than pursue a minor league opportunity with the Giants, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports.

Johnson's career will go down as a large what-if, an arm with a significant amount of both talent and ailments. The 32-year-old won an ERA title back in 2010 with the Marlins and had established himself as one of the league's best young pitchers, but an unrelenting series of injuries led to him throwing his final major league pitch in 2013. Now, after undergoing a third Tommy John surgery, Johnson is hanging up the cleats.

Pirates' Josh Bell: Reports to camp 23 pounds lighter
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/19/2017) Bell reported to minicamp at 225 pounds, down from 248 at the beginning of spring training last season, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Bell credited yoga for his weight loss. The 24-year-old hit .273 in 152 plate appearances last season, splitting time between first base and the outfield, though the focus seems to be on using him at first this season. Defense has always been one thing that has been a knock on Bell, but the Pirates will hope his participation in yoga and weight loss will increase his ability in the field, which could result in more consistent playing time.

Cardinals' Randal Grichuk: OK following offseason knee surgery
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(1/19/2017) Grichuk has recovered from surgery to remove loose cartilage from his left knee, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

It took Grichuk just over a month to recover from surgery. He is coming off a season in which he hit 24 home runs with 68 RBI and a .240 average. The 25-year-old enters spring training as a projected starter in the St. Louis outfield.

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