PT TODAY: Wheeler signs with Phillies

Team-by-team playing time allocation charts can be found in our Teamview pages.

National League | American League
 
Phillies | Zack Wheeler joining Philly
Free-agent RHP Zack Wheeler (Mets) agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday, Dec. 4, according to sources. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.   Source: The Athletic - Marc Carig
 
BHQ take: Wheeler will likely slot in behind Aaron Nola in the Phillies’ rotation. Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 after Tommy John surgery and other injuries. He was a bit shaky when he returned in 2017 and wasn’t a whole lot better at the start of 2018. Then things clicked halfway through the season. From July 1 on, he had a 2.21 ERA (3.37 xERA) over 14 starts. 2019 wasn’t as good as that second half, but it was still solid: 4.22 xERA with a 9.0 Dom, a 3.9 Cmd and a 121 BPV. Wheeler's departure from the Mets creates an opening in their rotation. Right now, two possible in-house options are Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, both of whom have started in the past. Lugo, however, was the Mets best reliever in 2019 - 183 BPV - and Gsellman could only muster a 4.54 xERA over 64 2019 relief innings. Thus, the Mets may be looking outside the organization for rotation help.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: High
Gsellman, Robert        
Lugo, Seth        
Wheeler, Zack        
 

 
Nationals | Washington signs Kyle Finnegan
Free-agent RP Kyle Finnegan (Athletics) signed with the Washington Nationals Sunday, Dec. 8. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.   Source: MLB.com
 
BHQ take: The unusual note about this signing is that Finnegan received a Major League contract even though he’s never pitched in the majors. The 28-year old compiled a 2.31 ERA over 50.1 innings in 2019. That included a 2.89 ERA over 28 innings in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. Finnegan can hit the high-90s with his fastball and struck out 12.8 batters per nine innings. At this point, it’s hard to predict Finnegan will be used in high leverage situations, but he does give Washington more bullpen depth. Note that he has three options remaining, meaning even if he doesn’t earn an MLB roster spot in spring training, Washington can stash him at Triple-A until the need for another arm arises.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Low
Finnegan, Kyle        
 

 
Padres | San Diego acquires Tommy Pham
The San Diego Padres agreed to acquire OF Tommy Pham and INF/RP Jake Cronenworth from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for OF Hunter Renfroe and INF Xavier Edwards on Thursday, Dec. 5., according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.  Source: ESPN - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: Pham is coming off another fine season (.273/.369/.450, 21 HR, 25 SB) and will obviously see everyday playing time in SD. But exactly where (in LF or CF) has yet to be answered, since SD still has a surplus of OFs and projects to make more moves before winter is over. PETCO shouldn’t hurt Pham’s value much, since Tropicana Field wasn’t exactly a hitter’s paradise either. Though he has no power to speak of, the late-blooming 26-year-old Cronenworth is coming off his best minor league season (.334/.429/.520 over 356 AB at Triple-A), in which he again displayed his historically solid plate control (50/64 BB/K). He’s ready for an MLB shot, and could get it as a utility infielder off the bench at some point in 2020. That Cronenworth also tossed 7 scoreless IP for AAA-Durham is at least interesting.  —Jock Thompson
 
Impact: High
Cronenworth, Jake        
Pham, Thomas        
 

 
Mets | Jake Marisnick headed to Mets
Houston Astros OF Jake Marisnick was acquired by the New York Mets Thursday, Dec. 5, in exchange for LHP Blake Taylor and OF Kenedy Corona.   Source: New York Post - Joel Sherman
 
BHQ take: Marisnick seems likely to replace Juan Lagares in the Mets outfield hierarchy, which means he will be the fourth outfielder, a platoon outfielder and late game defensive replacement, or if the Mets elect to emphasize defense a regular in center field. Whether he will help fantasy teams in any of these scenarios is questionable. For example, Marisnick’s xBA of .231 in 2019 was a career high and his best xBA of his career. There is a bit of upside in his history if you’re look at power. In 2017, he had 16 homers and an .815 OPS and his PX over the last three years has been 108.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Cespedes, Yoenis        
McNeil, Jeff        
Conforto, Michael        
Nimmo, Brandon        
Marisnick, Jake        
 

 
Braves | Cole Hamels to Braves
Free-agent LHP Cole Hamels (Cubs) agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, Dec. 4.   Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: Hamels will likely slide in near the top of the Braves’ rotation. After a remarkably successful and consistent career, Hamels has been a little up and down over the last three years. In 2017, he had arguably the worst season of his career with a 4.59 xERA and only a 54 BPV. In 2018, he rebounded somewhat compiling a 3.79 xERA with a 100 BPV and that featured a slightly better second half after a trade to the Cubs. In 2019, he was off to a good start until he was sidelined with shoulder fatigue. In both August and September, his xERA was above 5. Age and injury are now a concern, so owners should exercise some caution when rostering him.  —Phil Hertz
 
Impact: Med
Hamels, Cole M        
 

 
 
 
American League | National League
 
Royals | Trevor Rosenthal inks minor-league deal
Free-agent RHP Trevor Rosenthal (Yankees) on Saturday, Dec. 7, signed a minor-league deal with the Kansas City Royals.  Source: MLB.com - Jeffrey Flanagan
 
BHQ take: Rosenthal returned to the mound in 2019 after 2017 Tommy John surgery, and the results were not good: 17 K/ 23 BB and 23 ER in 15.1 IP (MLB); 20 K/ 16 BB and 16 ER in 15 IP (minors). An MLB career 11.9 Dom, 2.4 Cmd in 356 IP proves that "once you demonstrate a skill, you own it", but wait to see it demonstrated again (during Royals spring training or later) before taking a 2020 flyer on Rosenthal.  —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Low
Rosenthal, Trevor        
 

 
Rangers | Jordan Lyles headed to Texas
The Texas Rangers agreed to terms with free-agent RHP Jordan Lyles (Brewers) on a two-year contract worth $16 million Friday, Dec. 6, according to multiple sources.  Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: The Rangers continue to fortify their rotation options, adding what amounts to a #4 SP in Lyles. The right-hander has been decent the last two seasons, elevating his SwK and Dom rates to passable levels while keeping his Ball% down. He does tend to give up FB and HR, but it may not cost him as much in Texas' new Globe Life Field, in which wind figures to be less of a factor when the roof is open, and cool and calm otherwise during most of the summer. Lyles hasn't reached even 150 IP in a season since 2013 (MLB and MiLB combined), so don't expect him to be an innings eater. But his arrival will postpone or cut into IP for several of TEX younger hurlers. Overall, Lyles isn't likely to be better than a league-average SP, but his skills have improved enough that he's unlikely to hurt you, either.  —Rod Truesdell
 
Impact: Med
Burke, Brock        
Hearn, Taylor        
Palumbo, Joseph        
Jurado, Ariel        
Lyles, Jordan        
 

 
Rays | Tampa Bay adds Hunter Renfroe in trade
The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to acquire OF Hunter Renfroe and INF Xavier Edwards from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF Tommy Pham and INF/RP Jake Cronenworth on Thursday, Dec. 5., according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.  Source: ESPN - Jeff Passan
 
BHQ take: Renfroe is expected to take over in RF for the Rays in 2020, which was manned in 2019 by Avisail Garcia (a free agent as of this writing) and Austin Meadows (who will most likely slide over the LF to replace the traded Pham). Renfroe's power skills will be challenged in yet another unfriendly home (Tropicana Field), but if he can bounce back from his 2H2019 contact woes (58% ct%, 87 HctX), he could do some real damage in the other offense-friendlier AL East ballparks. Edwards arrived just in time to be ranked as the #5 TAM prospect on the recently published Rays 2020 Organizational Report.  —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Edwards, Xavier        
Meadows, Austin        
Renfroe, Hunter        
Garcia, Avisail        
 

 
Orioles | Baltimore trades Dylan Bundy
Baltimore Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy was traded to the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, Dec. 4, in exchange for RHPs Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek.   Source: MLB.com
 
BHQ take: Mattson and Bradish are the closest to the majors, and Mattson could actually see some major league time in 2020 with the rebuilding Orioles. (Brnovich and Peek were 2019 college draftees who will make their professional debuts in 2020.) Mattson was used exclusively as a reliever in 2019, notching 110 K against 27 BB (4.1 Cmd) in 73 IP, with most of those innings (48) coming at Double-A but he did finish the year at AAA-Norfolk. Bradish is considered the best of the four prospects after beginning his professional career in 2019 at High-A with 120 K/ 53 BB in 101 IP. (Impressive Dominance, but the Control still needs some work.) Assuming he begins the season at AA-Bowie, and pitches well there, there could be a chance of a 2020 MLB debut if the need exists, but 2021 seems to be a more likely arrival date.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Low
Mattson, Isaac        
Bradish, Kyle        
 

 
Angels | Dylan Bundy acquired by Angels
Baltimore Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy was acquired by the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, Dec. 4, in exchange for RHPs Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek.   Source: MLB.com
 
BHQ take: Coming off a third consecutive 160+ IP season, Bundy comes to an LAA club that had just one pitcher post more than a hundred innings in 2019 -- which alone make him a lock for a rotation that badly needs healthy arms and stability at the back. His numbers -- 4.79/4.60 ERA/xERA -- weren't great, and Angel Stadium has recently become a launching pad for LHBs since the right-field wall was lowered. But overall his new home venue and club might be an improvement on pitching in Camden Yards and the AL East. A 9.0 Dom and 13 SwK still offer a glimmer of hope.  —Jock Thompson
 
Impact: High
Bundy, Dylan        
 

 
Athletics | Jake Diekman contract update
Updating a previous report, free-agent RP Jake Diekman (Royals) agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics with $7.5 million on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The deal includes a club option for 2022.  Source: MLB Network - Jon Heyman
 
BHQ take: With Ryan Buchter non-tendered, Diekman appears in line to be the primary LH setup reliever for the team with whom he ended 2019. Despite ERA fluctuations, Diekman's xERA has been consistently in the high 3's with a BPV in the mid-80s (except for his colitis-plagued 2017) -- solid but unspectacular. He may grab a save or two, but don't speculate there; however, Diekman did nab 30 holds in 2019, so he carries a little extra value in leagues where holds count. He also consistently notches over a strikeout per inning, but generally poor Ctl holds down his WHIP contribution.  —Rod Truesdell
 
Impact: Low
Diekman, Jake        
 

 
Rays | Matt Duffy released
The Tampa Bay Rays released INF Matt Duffy Friday, Nov. 22.  Source: MLB.com
 
BHQ take: The health-challenged Duffy (389 DL-days from 2016-19) was cut loose, leaving Yandy Diaz (50 games at 3B in 2019), Daniel Robertson (43 games), Joe Wendle (27 games) and Michael Brosseau (18 games) to compete for playing time at the hot corner. Diaz (hamstring, foot) also had DL issues which held him to 347 plate appearances, but what he was able to do with those (.816 OPS, 118 HctX, 115 xPX) should put him at the top of the spring training competition. The LH-batting Wendle and RH-batting Robertson both offer 20-game 2B/3B and 10 game SS eligibility, but far less offensive potential than Diaz.  —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Diaz, Yandy        
Wendle, Joe        
Duffy, Matt        
Brosseau, Michael        
Robertson, Daniel        
 

 
Blue Jays | Chase Anderson acquired from Brewers
The Toronto Blue Jays acquired RHP Chase Anderson from the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Nov. 4, in exchange for 1B Chad Spanberger.  Source: TSN - Scott Mitchell
 
BHQ take: A "back-end arm with little upside" in the 2020 Baseball Forecaster, Anderson has backed into a full-time starting gig with his trade to TOR. He will be expected to eat innings on a staff with multiple openings in the rotation, and actually gets a park effects assist in the move, leaving a +24% LH batter HR% behind (Miller Field) for a neutral Rogers Centre. However, his 45% flyball rate and 4.21/5.04 ERA/xERA gap in 2019 makes him a risky proposition in AL-only leagues.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Low
Anderson, Chase        
 

 
Yankees | Aaron Hicks' surgery goes as expected
New York Yankees OF Aaron Hicks (elbow) had successful surgery Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Los Angeles to reconstruct his right UCL.  Source: Yankees PR
 
BHQ take: in case you missed or forgot this, Hicks is now expected to be out until at least the 2020 All-Star break, and several outlets are reporting that the Yankees are seeking a reunion with Brett Gardner to help fill the OF gap during Hicks' recovery. Gardner's A Health score is the perfect complement for Hicks' F Health score, but Gardner's career best 122 PX and 19% hr/f in 2019 were unsupported by his 80 xPX, so don't expect any additional 2020 playing time to carry those increased 2019 levels of productivity.   —Matt Dodge
 
Impact: Med
Hicks, Aaron        
Gardner, Brett        

 

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Playing Time Key

The playing time percentage changes at the bottom of most news items correspond to BaseballHQ.com's Teamview pages. The percentages approximate changes in AB, IP and Saves in the following manner:

  • For batters, each 5% of PT% ~ 31 AB (100% total for each position = 618 AB)
  • For pitchers, each 3% of PT% ~ 44 IP (100% total for a team's entire pitching staff)
  • For relievers, each 5% of Svs ~ 2 saves (100% of a team's total = about40 saves)

A complete explanation of BaseballHQ.com's playing time allocations can be found in the article "How the Projections are Created."


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