Jeff Niemann wins final spot in Rays’ rotation, Wade Davis heads to bullpen

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Matt Moore’s presence in the Rays’ rotation meant they had six starters for five spots and today manager Joe Maddon announced that Jeff Niemann will be the fifth starter and Wade Davis, who started 29 games in each of the past two seasons and has never relieved in the majors, will be in the bullpen.

Maddon added that the Rays still consider Davis a starter, but it’ll take an injury or a trade or someone performing terribly for him to resume starting again any time soon.

And it makes sense, because while Davis is certainly a capable back-of-the-rotation starter, a 4.22 ERA and 254/138 K/BB ratio in 388 career innings makes him clearly the worst option and the Rays also think he’s capable of making a late-inning impact as a reliever eventually. So far his only two career appearances as a reliever came in last season’s playoffs, when Moore joined the rotation.

Rays trade Corey Dickerson to the Pirates

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Hey guys, guess what: another Rays post. This one is news, though:

The Pirates just announced that they’ve acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Rays in exchange for reliever Daniel Hudson, minor league infielder Tristan Gray and cash.

Dickerson, as we’ve mentioned 10,000 times in the past few days, was DFA’d by the Rays for . . . reasons. The outfielder/DH hit .282/.325/.490 with a career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA last year, making the All-Star game. Which is really bad, according to some people who I still don’t totally understand, but what do I know? He’ll slide into an outfield situation in Pittsburgh that currently features Adam Frazier at the top of the depth chart in left.

Hudson is entering the second year of a two-year, $11 million deal, which likely explains why cash is coming back to Tampa Bay in the trade. In 2017 Hudson posted a 4.38 ERA in 71 games, striking out 66 batters and walking 33 in 61.2 innings.

Gray was a 13th rounder in last year’s draft out of Rice. He’s a middle infielder who will turn 22 next month. Last year he played 53 games in the New York-Penn league.