So much for that so-called “Accountability”-thingy that Joe Maddon kept talking about. The Rays have announced that Jeff Niemann has been optioned to the minors and the rotation to start the season has been set.
The Rays’ rotation is officially set, with the expected five guys in there—if in a slightly different order. James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel will open the year in the rotation, with J.P. Howell still “competing” for a bullpen slot. Yes, he has options and Balfour and Dohmann don’t, but he’s the only choice as a long reliever right now and it’s a pretty good idea to have one of those around to open the season.
Just for the fun of it, let’s see how Hammel “won” the final spot over Niemann.
Maybe Niemann is having trouble hitting breaking balls also.
And boy do the Rays need Scott Kazmir back. SOON. This rotation is no better than the one that opened the 2007 season.