Tampa Bay has all kinds of starting pitching depth, leading to speculation that they’ll try to cash some of it in for lineup help at some point.
Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times examined all the rotation options and concluded that Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann are the most likely starters to be traded by the Rays, while stud prospect Matt Moore and Rookie of the Year winner Jeremy Hellickson are basically untouchable.
James Shields falls somewhere in between, as he’d be the most obvious way for the Rays to add an impact hitter but is also one of the league’s best right-handers and under team control for three more years at a total of $29 million.
Davis (through 2017) and Niemann (through 2014) are also under team control for years to come, but with high-upside starters coming up through the system there isn’t room in the rotation for everyone long term.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.