The biggest storyline of the spring for the Rays will likely be the rotation and how the Rays will handle their seven big league starting pitchers. And the early favorite to be replaced in the rotation is Wade Davis.
We have already shown you that Davis is probably the weakest of the Rays starting pitchers. And some scouts recently told Buster Olney that Davis is much better suited for the bullpen than Jeff Niemann.
As for Davis, he doesn’t sound particularly thrilled about the idea.
First is this quote via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times in which Big Dub appears to hint that he would ask for a trade if moved to the bullpen…
“I’m a starter…I don’t see any reason for me to be in the bullpen. I understand they’ve got to do certain things, but we’ll see. … I definitely want to be a starter and stay a starter forever. And that’ll be my mentality”…Davis said there haven’t been any conversations — yet, anyway — with anyone from the Rays about possibly ending up in the bullpen. And if he is sent that way, he might end up approaching them, though he wouldn’t have much leverage to force a trade…”If it ever did come to that, it’s something we’d talk about then,” he said.
But later, Davis spoke with Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune and seemed to back-track from his comments…
“I understand the situation…I want to be a starter, but I want to do what’s best for the team, to help us win and get to the postseason…When I was in the bullpen last year I enjoyed it, it was fun…but I love routines, so starting has always been a lot of fun for me.”
With the emergence of Matt Moore, most assume that either Niemann or Davis will be traded or moved to the bullpen. And if the goal is to have the best five starting pitchers in the rotation, Moore needs to be part of the group. Of course, we also wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays give Moore a few weeks in triple-A at the start of the year to ease him into the season, much like the Rays did with David Price in 2009.