Hammel for A-Rod (Aneury Rodriguez)?
Officially, the Rays are waiting until Sunday to make the decision between pitchers Lance Cormier, Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann for the last two spots on their roster, which has to be submitted by 3 p.m. And they have their reasons, wanting to make sure everyone they are counting on is healthy and ready for opening day.
Hammel and Niemann are both scheduled to work in minor-league intrasquad games Sunday morning in Port Charlotte, and Rays officials won't be the only ones watching.
The Rockies have been interested in Hammel and there was chatter in baseball circles Saturday that - assuming no injuries or unexpected developments - after the morning game the Rays will trade Hammel to Colorado (or designate him for assignment with the purpose of trading him after the Rockies can clear roster space). If so, that would make Niemann the fifth starter and Cormier the long reliever.
In return the Rays would get A-Rod - a 21-year-old pitching prospect named Aneury Rodriguez. Insidetherockies.com reported that the Rockies were working to finalize the details, which involve sending down Franklin Morales after his Wednesday start and adding Hammel as a reliever.
Ranked the Rockies No. 16 prospect by Baseball America, Rodriguez was scheduled to start the season at Double-A Tulsa, having gone 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 139 strikeouts/40 walks in 156 innings last season at advanced Class A Modesto.