[UPDATE: 11:00am] Ken Rosenthal says the Rays are in a “position of strenth,” noting that the Rays could choose to cut Lance Cormier and keep both Niemann and Hammel. Rosenthal is reporting that six teams, including the two listed below, have shown interest in either Niemann or Hammel or both.
The Rays would like to move right-hander Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann, both of whom are out of options. But the team could keep both pitchers and cut right-hander Lance Cormier if it does not receive an attractive trade offer…A number of clubs have shown interest in Hammel and/or Niemann, including the Rangers, Nationals and Indians; published reports indicate that the Padres, Pirates and Rockies also are in the mix, and the Brewers are yet another possibility.
[10:45am] Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Padres have inquired with the Rays about Jeff Niemann, but so far the asking price has been too high.
The Padres have shown interest in trading for starting pitcher Jeff Niemann, a No. 5 candidate for the Tampa Bay Rays…In return, the defending American League champions have inquired about Padres prospects Simon Castro, Wynn Pelzer, Juedy Valdez and Nick Schmidt. The Padres have deemed the price too high. Niemann is out of minor league options, reducing the Rays’ trade leverage.
Meanwhile, Fanhouse is reporting that the Rockies have called the Rays about Jason Hammel.
According to a major league source familiar with the development, the Rockies are interested in right-hander Jason Hammel. Tampa Bay is still deciding between Hammel and Jeff Niemann for the job as No. 5 starter, and both are out of minor-league options.
It is no surprise that the Padres would call the Rays asking about Niemann, but this news is telling about what the Rays are thinking in regards to Niemann and the pitching staff.
We now know that the Rays feel good enough about the 25-man roster that they are not asking for major league-ready talent, preferring rather to add to an already deep farm system. We also can see that with the lack of any suggestion of serious talks, the Rays are not feeling pressured to make a trade at this point. Unless the Rays change their stance, we would be surprised if Niemann is traded before the beginning of the season.