The Rays made it official today that Jeff Niemann will be the fifth starter at the opening of the season. They made their decision clear when Jason Hammel was traded to the Colorado Rockies for 21yearold AA left hander Aneury Rodriguez.
Hammel was 715 with a 5.90 ERA during parts of three seasons with the Rays. The Rockies have inquired about him for several months now, so now he will go from a place where he was lost in the shuffle to a team that could really use him. (Hopefully he knows how to hit too.) Good luck in those future baseball endeavors, Jason.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez has four years of professional baseball experience even though he is a few weeks younger than me. He brought his ERA down under 4.00 at high Class A last season and should be in AA at Montgomery to start 2009. He is another interesting prospect who will add lowerlevel depth to the pitching core.
Congratulations to Jeff Niemann on securing that starting spot. He knows that if he screws this up, David Price will promptly take his spot, so he knows he has to live up to that potential now or face the consequences. I think he can handle it, but we’ll find out very soon. Until next time, go Rays.