FANTASY PLAYER UPDATES & NEWS

Tyson Gillies has agreed to a minor league deal with the the Padres.

Tyson Gillies was a center piece in the Phillies/Mariners Cliff Lee trade, but Gillies has done just about nothing for the Phillies, and was finally released by the frustrated Phillies team after being a massive disappointment. He still had a lot of natural ability, and if the Padres can harness that he can eventually be a fourth outfielder type for the team. Analysis: Ben Diamond

Michael Saunders ended up only having 60-percent of his meniscus removed. His recovery time is 4-to-6 weeks.

Saunders' tear was not as bad as originally believed, and the fact that he had the meniscus trimmed rather than repaired means he will have a quicker recovery time and a higher success rate. Instead of being out until the All Star break in a best case scenario he could be back a couple weeks after Opening Day. He probably will end up on the waiver wire to start the year, and he should be on most owners watch list as he could be a 20-20 threat upon return.  Analysis: Ben Diamond

Jose Quintana began his throwing program later than normal per the team’s request, but Quintana is ready to go. Quintana threw two simulated innings in the bullpen on Friday and said he’s right on track.

Quintana, 26, has thrown 200+ innings for two straight years and the White Sox will go a bit easier on him this Spring Training. Hopefully the delayed schedule will help him to finish the season stronger than in past seasons, such as the 4.58 ERA he carried in August, in contrast to his 3.32 ERA on the season.  Analysis: Ben Diamond

Blue Jays and Athletics are among teams talking to free-agent Dayan Viciedo.

Viceido has solid 20-home run pop, but his glove in the outfield is average and his plate discipline could certainly stand some work. The Jays could use him as a replacement for Michael Saunders and then as a fourth outfielder while the A's would likely use him in left field regularly. Analysis: Howard Bender

Chad Billingsley threw a bullpen session Friday and said he felt like he didn't even throw. He'll throw off mound again on Monday.

It's nice to hear Billingsley so confident in his session, but fantasy owners need to remain cautious with him. He's thrown 12 innings in the last two years after major surgery on his elbow and he wasn't performing all that well even before that. Consider him an early waiver possibility if he looks good coming out of the spring but do not rely on him for anything important just yet. Analysis: Howard Bender

Cliff Lee is not behind schedule in relation to other pitchers in camp. Lee finished last season on the disabled list with an injured left elbow, but there have been no issues this spring.

The reports on Lee have all been positive with the latest coming Wednesday after he threw eight minutes of batting practice. He threw mostly fastballs, but it was a solid outing considering it was the first time he faced live hitters since July 31. He is still expected to be ready for the start of the season. Analysis: Howard Bender

Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez could be pitching off the mound as early as Sunday, but the team hasn't publicly finalized an exact date.

The worst thing the Marlins could do is rush Fernandez' return to the hill. His timeline to potentially pitch in the majors in the second half is probably what they should be sticking to, but given his talents before the surgery, they would love to see him come back a little sooner. Keep tabs on him, but do not let this elevate his draft position in your eyes. You should still expect him to miss the first half of the season. Analysis: Howard Bender

Todd Cunningham, Eury Perez, Zoilo Almonte and Eric Young Jr. are among the candidates to replace Melvin Upton.

Now that's one ugly group whether you're looking at it from a real or a fantasy perspective. Young has some nice speed upside and Almonte has his merits, but Cunningham and Perez are probably more depth material than they are candidates for regular playing time. Analysis: Howard Bender

Brayan Pena has caught a handful of Johnny Cueto's bullpen sessions this spring, and went as far as to say Cueto "looked better than last year."

That's a very serious statement, when you consider that Cueto is coming off of an amazing 20-9 season in which he had a 2.25 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, and 242 Ks in 243.2 innings. The thought that Cueto could improve on those numbers is one to be skeptical about, but also one to remember on draft day. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Shane Victorino and rookie Mookie Betts are in the mix for the Red Sox's leadoff slot, and the Red Sox will also take a long look at Rusney Castillo this spring.

Victorino, who is a career .277 hitter with a .341 on-base-percentage, is a solid top-of-the-lineup hitter who has enough speed (60 stolen bases between 2012-2013) to be disruptive when hitting in the lead-off spot. Barring an unexpected setback in spring training, you can expect Victorino to secure the lead-off spot heading into the 2015 season. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan has been diagnosed with a mid-back strain, and he is expected to miss about five days of on-field activity.

Ryan is the definition of a fantasy non-entity, with a career stat-line consisting of a .234 batting average, 19 home runs, 67 stolen bases (caught 25 times), and 195 runs batted in over an 832 game MLB career. Injured or not, avoid taking him on draft day. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Update: Melvin Upton has foot inflammation and will be in a leg cast for two weeks, then a foot cast for 4-to-6 weeks.

This is just another reason to avoid wasting a draft pick on Upton, who's capable of striking out when he's not even at-bat (324 Ks in his last 910 ABs). Analysis: Brad Costilo

A.J. Griffin has been placed on the 60-day disabled list.

With Griffin, who went 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 171 Ks in 200 IP in 2013, still recovering from Tommy John surgery during Spring Training of 2014, it's unlikely that he will be a viable fantasy option until late in the 2015 season (but more likely, not until 2016).  Analysis: Brad Costilo

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro says Ryan Howard is "in the best shape since I've known him."

Ryan Howard has been a shell of his former-self over the last three seasons, going from averaging 32 HRs, 112 RBIs, 84 Runs and a .264 AVG in 2010-2011 to averaging 16 HRs, 64 RBIs, 42 Runs, and a .244 AVG in 2012-2014. There's no denying that injuries have played a large role in the decreased production, but in 2014 Howard played in 153 games and only put up a .223 AVG along with 23 HRs, 95 RBIs, and 65 Runs. At this point, there's too much risk involved with drafting Ryan Howard as anything other than a bench/utility player with 20+ HR potential. Analysis: Brad Costilo

Athletics claim OF Alex Hassan off waivers From the Orioles.

Hassan has never shown any reason to believe that he can become a viable fantasy producer. In fact, his 13 HRs in AA in 2011 are the only time the 26-year-old has ever broken double-digits in HRs or SBs in a season in his six-year professional career. Analysis: Brad Costilo
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