Rays outright Jeff Niemann off 40-man roster

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Not so long ago Jeff Niemann was a big part of the Rays’ plans, but the former No. 4 overall pick missed most of 2012 and all of 2013 with a fractured fibula followed by shoulder surgery and now Tampa Bay has dropped him from the 40-man roster.

Niemann chose free agency, so he’ll be looking for a new home at age 30 after throwing 544 innings with a 4.08 ERA for the Rays.

As of September he was hoping to be fully healthy in time for spring training, so Niemann should draw plenty of interest as an inexpensive bounceback candidate capable of being a mid-rotation starter.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.