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Rays Rumors: More Interested In Jason Hammel & Jeff Niemann; Gary Sheffield Prefers Rays

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We already know the Rockies, Padres and Pirates have shown interest in Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann, but Ken Rosenthal adds the Indians, Rangers and Nationals to the talks. Rosenthal also mentions that the Rays don't need to trade either one and could keep both on the roster if they choose.

The Rays would like to move right-hander Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann, both of whom are out of options. But the team could keep both pitchers and cut right-hander Lance Cormier if it does not receive an attractive trade offer.

Personally, I think the team is better off keeping Niemann and Cormier, but I'm also against selling low on a player just because everybody wants to move him. It's important to remember that all of this is just speculation and nobody from the Rays has said anything about a trade. In almost all these reports, it says the other teams have shown interest, which is probably true, but there is nothing directly from the Rays that indicates any movement. Andrew Friedman usually moves in silence and I wouldn't be surprised if a deal when down with a team nobody has mentioned.

As for the Gary Sheffield talk(H/T to Vin), while Sheff may prefer to play for the Rays, It just doesn't make sense. The Rays outfield is crowded already and they already have a right handed DH in Pat Burrell. If an injury were occur that could change, but I don't see a fit right now.

Joe Maddon is flattered by the news of Sheff preferring the Rays

If Gary Sheffield is interested in signing with the Rays, they seem at least willing to think about it, though it seems he would have to be able to play rightfield since Pat Burrell is going to be the primary DH.

"That's very complimentary that he would want to come play for us,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "I have so much respect for this guy as a baseball player. I've gotten to know him a little bit over the last couple years, just having abstract conversations with him. I saw him during the off-season he's in great shape, he's a very strong person. And I like him. Conversationally I really like him. I don't know, again, it's very complimentary that he would want to play with us, and beyond that I have no idea what would happen.''---Heater

It is nice that Sheffield wants to play for the Rays, but again a 40 year old with a declining bat, a below average glove and a bad reputation doesn't seem to fit the Rays needs in 2009.