Niemann becomes a free agent
The Rays were most likely going to cut RHP Jeff Niemann loose at the Dec. 2 deadline rather than tender him a contract and be bound by arbitration, so they instead made the move Monday.
Niemann was outrighted off the 40-man roster and then elected free agency.
The move allows Niemann to explore the free-agent market sooner, and also preserves the possibility of him re-signing with the Rays.
Niemann, who turns 31 in February, missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery, and it is unclear at what point during the season he will be ready to return.
Niemann made $3-million last season, and $2.75-million the year before when pitching only 38 innings, as he sustained a broken right leg after being hit by a batted ball May 14 and made only one start upon return.