Marc Lancaster provides us with the starting pitchers for the next five games and the list includes one name competing for the fifth spot in the rotation and does not include any others. The name included is Jason Hammel.
The Rays have provided a list of the upcoming starters:
Wednesday vs. Reds: Hammel (w/ Hernandez)
Thursday vs. Cardinals: Kazmir
Friday at Blue Jays: Garza
Saturday at Orioles: Sonnanstine (w/ Price)
Sunday vs. Yankees: Shields
Lancaster speculates on what this means for the starting rotation…
What should we glean from that setup, given that the Rays have said they’re close to narrowing the field of rotation candidates? Well, considering Jeff Niemann isn’t specifically listed, perhaps that’s an indication he may be more in line for a bullpen job, with Hammel set up for the rotation. That would be an interesting move, as I’d say Niemann has been the best of those competing for the fifth spot to this point. But perhaps I’m reading too much into it. Guess we’ll see.
We won’t go so far as to say that Hammel has already won the final spot in the rotation, even though the writing has been on the wall for a while. It is very much the Rays M.O. to wait to make decisions until they absolutely must be made. But this does suggest that Hammel has a firm grip on the final spot in the rotation and it would take an absolute nose-dive from Hammel and signs that Jeff Niemann is the next Nolan Ryan for somebody other than Hammel to be in the rotation when the Rays break camp.
Of starters and B.J. [Rays Report]