Note: I already wrote about the optioning of three more pitchers on our Tumblr page, but felt it might be worthwhile to re-post it here.
The Rays have optioned three more pitchers to Triple-A Durham — Chris Archer, Alex Torres, and Jake Odorizzi.
Rays beat writer Marc Topkin noted, “Archer initially was surprised to be sent down this soon, but after a “Great conversation” with team officials (he) understood, and expects to be back.”
“Mixed with my conviction that I can compete at this level and with that conversation that we just had, there are no malicious feelings, there’s no like negative feelings going to Triple-A, going to the minor leagues for who knows how long,” Archer said. “I know I have to continue to develop, and something’s going to happen – every year someone goes down or they need an extra arm. So I’m going to make the most of my opportunity when I come up but continue to maximize my potential in the minor leagues.”
I’m frankly a bit surprised by this move. Archer posted an excellent 7 IP/1 H/0 R/3 BB/5 K/0.00 ERA/0.045 OBA/0.57 WHIP line in three Grapefruit League appearances, and seemed poised to appear on the opening day roster. This leaves Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann to battle it out for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
A few questions lay in the wake of this move.
Will Archer’s imminent return occur sooner or later? What’s more, what roster moves could accompany his return? Also, is this an acknowledgment that Niemann will more than likely get the fifth starting spot, leaving Hernandez to work in the long reliever role? With Niemann’s history of injuries, I’d imagine that the Rays may be assuming that the tall RHP will go down, and it’s just a matter of time when. Finally, Could the Rays be priming the pump for a mid-season Niemann trade?
Rumors of the willingness for the Rays to trade Jeff Niemann have circulated the last few years, however his trade value has plummeted because of chronic injuries. It would make sense for Tampa Bay to rebuild Niemann’s trade equity, inevitably using him as leverage for some sort of deal in July. As the late Joe Strummer once said, “The future is unwritten.” We’ll just have to wait and see how all of this pans out.
The Rays lost their third straight Grapefruit League game yesterday in a low scoring, 3-1 game against the Yankees. Offensively speaking, the Rays were quiet. However, Alex Cobb absolutely dominated in his five inning stint on the bump. Cobb posted an impressive 5 IP/2 H/0 R/0 BB/6 K line Tuesday, now boasting a 14 IP/8 H/2 R/2 ER/1 HR/1 BB/18 K/.167 OBA/0.64 WHIP slash line, with a 1.29 ERA on the spring. Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes, and Will Inman weren’t half bad either, combining for three innings of one hit baseball, allowing no walks while striking out three. The Rays have another off-day today.