phpcmnzynTime to bring back the GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

THE GOOD: Lance Cormier. Cormier (right) is making a strong case to be the last man in the bullpen ahead of Joe Nelson. Joe Maddon has gone to Cormier a lot early in game to face the tougher batters and he has come through with solid spring numbers (1.80 ERA). He pitched two more scoreless innings and his ability to work more than one inning is only going to help his case.

THE BAD: The offense. Rays hitters managed only 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. Only one of the hits went for extra bases, a double by Gabe Gross…Jason Hammel. The fifth spot in the rotation is Hammer’s but his grasp may be slipping after walking 5 in 4 innings and giving up 4 runs and 6 hits.

THE TELLING: Adam Kennedy made his spring debut at shortstop, while Reid Brignac made the start.


  • Marc Topkin takes a look at the questions that remain for the Rays with opening day just around the corner. [St. Pete Times]
  • Jason Hammel called his performance “unacceptable.” [St. Pete Times]
  • Adam Kennedy says he is willing to start the season in Durham if needed, but the Rays made it clear that if there is not an immediate spot for him with the Rays and another team needs a major league infielder, they will not stand in the way of an opportunity for Kennedy to play in the big leagues. Also of note is Marc Lancaster pointing out that one reason Kennedy signed with the Rays is because he knew he would receive a lot of playing time in the spring to showcase his skills with Aki Iwamura away at the WBC. [Tampa Tribune]





  1. Brixology says:

    As I was watching the game on Sunday, I came to the same conclusion that Topkin appears to have come to: Kennedy should be the last bench guy. Ruggs has an option and we have enough outfielders to carry us until BJ is back. If the Wizard of Zo is going to play in center, we need the extra infielder and, just in general, I feel better about Kennedy than I do about Ruggs.

  2. leningan says:

    Poor Ruggs. Even with Nando and BJ on the DL the guy can't catch a break, which is fine with me. Is there any chance we try to move him at the deadline? Don't know what we could get for him, but I can't see how he is needed and he has to be frustrated with his plot. I don't want that kind of attitude in and around our dugout.

  3. KyleS says:

    I'm beginning to wonder if Hammel doesn't punch his ticket on the DFA bus with one more start like that. Spring is a small sample and all, but we have a pretty good idea of what Hammel will bring to the table, and for him to flat-out admit that he sucked yesterday just doesn't sound very promising to me. All the Rays' lose is trade value, and there isn't much there to begin with.

    I lost a little confidence in Niemann as far as a meaningful BP role goes, after struggling to get two outs the other day (plus letting both of the inherited runners score plus some before getting one out). I think if he has a solid start tomorrow night, he could emerge as the front-runner for the 5th spot.

    So right now, I almost see it as Hammel v Cormier, and Nelson v Izzy. Cormier is winning the long-man role as far as I'm concerned, and I guess it depends on how badly they want to get Izzy the 'back-up closer' role.....which is just a funny phrase to me.

    • I think you are spot-on with most of that except I would be surprised if the Rays just DFA'd Hammel. I would think the Pirates or Royals would be willing to part with a mid-level prospect for a cheap starting pitcher with experience and at least some upside

      • KyleS says:

        I didn't entertain the thought of Hammel getting DFA until yesterday either. But will the return be any better than a C-level prospect?....I doubt it (and we already have a ton of those). I don't think it's any coincidence that Hammel and Niemann are drawing back to back starts against the Pirates. I was thinking Morgan would be a pretty decent target (and might come at a decent price) after losing Perez for the year, as he is basically just a slightly older version, and would make a nice 5th OFer. While listening to the Pirates' webcast yesterday, they seemed surprised that McCutchen was still in just got me wondering if someone was on the block over there.

        Regardless....we need Hammel to pitch well, and he didn't even have the courtesy to lie yesterday and say he was working on "insert any number of things pitchers work on in ST here".

        • cathy says:

          I agree with most of this, although I think it took a lot more chutzpah for Hammel to flat-out state that he felt his performance was "unacceptable" than to try to sugar-coat it or diffuse it by saying he was working on some stuff. Making excuses for a bad outing at this point would be worse than anything; we all know there are issues there so the only thing left is to take the high road and take responsibility.

          • KyleS says:

            My last sentence was tongue-in-cheek in nature.....of course our coaching staff would know that he's blowing smoke, but who knows if the Pirates would have or not. I just don't think he did us any favors on any front yesterday, and I came away a little irritated.

    • Justin says:

      I really hope you are right about Hammel v Cormier, and Nelson v Izzy in some respects.

      I like Izzy so far, and from what I hear Cormier is more solid--do you want him as the long man?

  4. Joe D. says:

    About a month ago, I was listening to XM Radio's MLB home plate, and one of Cormier's former teammates' or just one of the guys he works out with (not sure who it was)... But the guy was asked about how he prepares and gets ready for the season, and his training program; in his response mentioned what a hard worker Cormier is, and that he's a guy that he takes his lead from in making sure that he's physically ready, and how he would be shocked if Cormier didn't find his way into the Rays bullpen and even acknowledged that he knew that the Rays had a crowded bullpen...

    I wish I could remember who it was, but it's quite an endorsement when a former teammate goes out of his way to point you out as a model example of how you go about your business to prepare.

  5. Don says:

    Idea to get Maddon off the hook!
    Give Nieman/Hammel each one more start...for as many innings as they can go.....
    Tell them the best performance will be the 5th starter for the beginning of the season!
    Solves the initial decision, and you really get to see how they perform under pressure!
    More interesting: add Price to the mix, but you know who would be the winner!

  6. Dirtbag Fan says:

    The best viable solution is starting to look like a 4 man rotation in April... which also helps create room in the pen while they figure out what to do about #5...

  7. Joe D. says:

    I found this link:

    it compares Steven Strasburg's Soph. statistics to David Price, Wade Townsend, and other high profile pitching prospects... thought it was interesting... Ranked by K/9, Strasburg is third behind Price and Townsend

    • Steve says:

      but wait. I thought Strasburg was the GREATEST PITCHING PROSPECT. EV. AH.

      • Joe D. says:

        lol, So was Mark Prior... But 103MPH fastball, and an unhittable Slider, Oh yeah and he has pinpoint accurcy. Sounds like a lot of hype to me, for a guy that has pitched 120 innings... Only time will tell...


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