36-year-old Pat Neshek has made a living off his sinker-slider combo pitch. Neshek is coming off a year where he pitched 47 innings with a 3.06 earned run average and an 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Nicasio split time between three different organizations last year -- St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia -- and accumulated a 2.61 ERA and 1.08 WHIP during 76 relief appearances. During those outings, he posted a 72:20 K:BB in 72.1 innings while notching six saves and 21 holds, and will look to find stability within the Mariners' bullpen in 2018. The right-hander provides flexibility, as he's shown that he can pitch in a high-leverage late-inning role, or be deployed as an inning-eating middle reliever.
Volquez is busy recovering from a UCL tear that warranted Tommy John surgery in early August, but was released in order to create a spot on the team's 40-man roster. As Spencer notes, the Marlins could choose to re-sign the right-hander to a minor-league deal while he sits out most, if not all, of the 2018 season rehabbing from the injury. During 17 starts with the team this past year, he posted a 4.19 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 92.1 innings. Miami still owes Volquez $13 million from the contract he signed last November,
Armstrong appeared in 21 relief outings for the Indians in 2017, accruing a 4.38 ERA and 1.34 WHIP while sporting a 20:10 K:BB in 24.2 innings. The 27-year-old right-hander spent about half his time in Triple-A this past year, but might be able to find a home in Seattle's bullpen and earn a career high in innings and appearances. With Triple-A Columbus, Armstrong posted a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings.
The rest of the prospects headed to Miami have not yet been revealed, but the flame-throwing right-hander might be the headliner. He can touch triple digits with his fastball, but shaky command and inconsistent secondary offerings have many evaluators pegging him for a high-leverage relief role. He is still just 22, so there is time for him to improve in both areas. The Marlins will continue to develop him as a starter, as they won't be contending anytime soon. The impact on his fantasy value is complicated -- he was likely ticketed for a relief role sooner than later with the Cardinals, which could have yielded saves and strikeouts, but now he will have a chance to max out as a high-strikeout/high-WHIP starter.
After failing to secure Giancarlo Stanton, the Cardinals will snag a different outfielder from Miami, as Ozuna is heading to St. Louis following five seasons in the big-leagues with the Marlins. During his breakout 2017 campaign, Ozuna slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI, with all stats checking in as career highs. At this point in time, the return for Ozuna hasn't been announced, but all players involved will need to pass their physicals in order for the deal to go through. Looking ahead, Ozuna is the impact bat that the Cardinals were searching for at the winter meetings, and he will be a mainstay at the number three or four spot in the order for St. Louis during this upcoming season. As for defensive positioning, Ozuna will probably remain in left field while Tommy Pham transitions to right.
Pena spent the past two seasons in the Orioles' system, and wound up playing in 19 big-league games during that span. During 51 contests with Triple-A Norfolk in 2017, the catcher slashed .278/.309/.450 with six home runs and 18 RBI. Although he may not make an impact at the major-league level, Pena will serve as organizational depth for the Redbirds moving forward.
After delivering the best season of his career between the White Sox and Brewers, Swarzak will head back to The Big Apple after playing in 2016 with the Yankees. The left-hander was a trade-deadline acquisition for Milwaukee this past year, and totaled an ERA of 2.33 and 91:22 K:BB over 77.1 relief innings between both clubs. He will join a Mets' bullpen that was in desperate need of an arm, or two, and should be utilized in high-leverage situations as a setup man, during this upcoming season.
Pending a physical, McGee will be back in the Colorado bullpen for the third straight year, and could potentially be the club's closer for the 2018 season. That obviously depends on whether the Rockies are able to sign other relievers before the start of next season, but McGee is a solid candidate to take over that role following a good season in 2017. During this past year, he posted a 3.61 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 57.1 innings, while accumulating three saves and 20 holds. His 58:16 K:BB was more in line with his remarkable final two seasons in Tampa Bay than his rough debut with the Rockies in 2016, and the left-hander should be able to put together another quality year in whichever role he winds up being deployed in.
The 28-year-old righty underwent Tommy John surgery on July 18, and figures to miss most, if not all of the 2018 season. This gives him some short-term security and a chance to hit the market again after hopefully reestablishing his value in 2019, while it give the Twins an affordable, high-upside starter for 2019. Pineda has generated worse run-prevention metrics than the fielding-independent numbers suggest, as his career 3.60 FIP is quite a bit lower than his career 4.05 ERA. While he hasn't posted an ERA under 4.30 since 2014, he typically strikes out around a batter per inning, and in 2016 he notched 207 strikeouts in 175.2 innings, so there is plenty of long-term upside for dynasty-league owners.
He was outrighted off the Blue Jays' 40-man roster in August, and opted for a steady paycheck in Japan over having to work his way back to the big leagues. The 29-year-old righty has a career 4.92 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 210 strikeouts in 230.2 MLB innings.
Tuesday was an eventful night, as it was first reported that the Phillies were landing Addison Reed, which turned out to be incorrect. They instead came to terms with Hunter, who will serve as one of their top setup men in 2018. The 31-year-old righty logged a 2.61 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in 58.2 innings for the Rays last season. He has 17 career saves, but most of those came in 2014 with the Orioles. Hector Neris would open the year as the Phillies' closer if they don't make more moves, but talks with Reed are reportedly ongoing.
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