Astros Rays Spring BaseballMarc 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]



  1. Doug says:

    Since Niemann is out of options sticking him in the midst of an already loaded set up core makes no sense. If I were the Rays, I would showcase Niemann as the #5 guy for two months and then trade him to the wanting Padres. Now you mark my words this is is strong possibility and makes the most sense. Because Price is better than all of those guys and they will want him in the lineup as a starter sooner rather than later. 3/16/2009 DRAFTAHOLIC!!!

    • J-Ray says:

      Who would we want in return? Money?

      • Doug says:

        The Rays usually go for undeveloped minor league prospects and cash. Since anyone they acquire would prob just be a utility guy, that is the way to go.

    • staplemaniac says:

      Another option: make him a starter until price comes up, put him in the BP as a swing man. Some of our starters will surely miss time with injuries, and if they don't just stick Niemann in the rotation in 2010 or beyond. This season I don't see us gatting fair value for him.

  2. Jason W says:

    how about a package of Hammel,Niemann or Talbot,and Brignac so we can get rid of all 3.For what,I don't know


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