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.



  1. Beth says:

    Is Wade the only person connected to baseball who doesn't realize they've been TRYING to trade him? Presumably if there were a decent offer out there he would be gone.

  2. steve says:

    I still think there will be a trade involoving Davis or Niemann before opening day or early in the season after injuries start spring up around the league as they always do. RFO basically is just saying that they aren't going to trade just to make a trade. They can't come out and say yes Matt Moore will be in the rotation and we are definitely trading someone because then you lose a lot of leverage in negotiations.

  3. Mike says:

    I really feel that the title of this post portrays Wade in a bad light. Not once has Wade said he will request a trade if he is sent to the bullpen. "Appears to hint" really frustrates me Cork. Don't pick on the guy that has done nothing wrong. Marc Topkin has clearly put his own spin on the entire situation. Wade's actual statements are hardly controversial. If anything he is just telling Maddon and management he wants to start, and he is ready to compete. Niemann took a much different stance and had a more "I'll pitch wherever attitude". So wouldn't you take the guy that really wants it and is fired up about it? I know I would.

    I really don't understand all of the hate for Wade. I'm really not a numbers guy so I won't sit here and argue stats, but I really like Wade this season. He has way more upside than Niemann, and I think a lot of Rays fans will be eating their own words (happens often). Lets not turn the guy into a villain and run him out of town. Pitching depth is key. Lets remember that this is a great problem to have.

    Beth, I really don't feel they have been trying to trade him. Track records tells us the Rays will listen, but are not actively trying to move specific players. Getting aggressive in trade talks turns into bad deals.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      1) he was asked point blank and had a chance to say "no, that is not something I want" or similar, but he didnt. And if you think it was just Topkin's malicious spin, then your problem is with Topkin.

      2) nobody hates Davis. Quite the contrary. The Rays have 6 very good starting pitchers. It just happens that if you were going to rank them, Davis would be #6. And even then, it is not a slam dunk. We've argued in the past for moving Niemann to the pen because he is more fragile and not nearly as durable.

  4. Dave L says:

    Mike is right there is nothing controversial in Wade's words, just in the overblown interpretation.

    I dont have the stats to back it up just my watching games but it seems to me Wade has more upside based on his development

    1) Jeff is more fragile
    2) Jeff seems more protected. Once he starts having trouble everybody knows the wheels are coming off and he is more quickly pulled than Wade. They seem to give Wade more of a chance to work himself out than they do the big man.
    3) As stated Wade has more of a starters mentallity.
    4) Jeff seems to have more high quality starts than Wade but seems to have less games where he gets into later innings.

    If Niemann knows he only has to go as long as he is effective i think he will be able to relax more and bear down. I think he would be a great addition to our pen and its not a slap to him at all.

    Wades future is as a starting pitcher somewhere but Niemanns is a tossup IMO.

    If anyone has stats to back up or torpedo my premises have at it. i base it solely on what I have witnessed.


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