Shields gets Opening Day nod for Rays again

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James Shields has started Game 1 for the Rays for the past two seasons and manager Joe Maddon just announced that he’ll get the Opening Day nod again this year:

We feel very good about him being the opening day starter. We feel as though he’s earned the right to maintain that position. He was very excited and very grateful about it.

Scott Kazmir got the Game 2 call last season, but he’s with the Angels now and instead Matt Garza will follow Shields in the rotation. Maddon added that David Price and Jeff Niemann will start Games 3 and 4, but he hasn’t decided on the order yet. Niemann actually led the Rays in wins as a rookie with 13, posting a 3.94 ERA in 180.2 innings.
Wade Davis and Andy Sonnanstine are fighting for the final rotation spot, with Sonnanstine having the big edge in experience and Davis possessing significantly more upside.

Report: Phillies place Justin Bour on waivers

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies have placed first baseman Justin Bour on waivers. The Phillies are creating space on the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 protection deadline on Tuesday.

Bour, 30, opened the season with the Marlins but was traded to the Phillies in August in exchange for minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills. Overall, Bour hit .227/.341/.404 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 501 plate appearances.

Bour doesn’t really have a spot on the Phillies’ roster considering he is strictly a first baseman and the Phillies already have Carlos Santana. The Phillies may try to trade Santana to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base from left field.

If Bour clears waivers, he can reject an outright assignment to the minor leagues and become a free agent. However, considering how slow-moving the market for bat-only 1B/DH types has been in recent years, Bour may have trouble latching on with a new team on a guaranteed major league contract. If Bour is claimed, the claiming team will be responsible for paying him as he enters his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. MLB Trade Rumors projects Bour to earn a salary of $5.2 million in 2019.