Countdown to Opening Day: Rays’ Starting Rotation Competition

Jake Odorizzi_1

The Tampa Bay Rays have narrowed their scope of competition for players who are competing for the fifth spot of the starting rotation. They now have three players at the top of their list for the fifth spot.

Jake Odorizzi, Erik Bedard, and Cesar Ramos are in the running for the coveted gig.

Odorizzi is still fairly new to Tampa Bay but he has a good shot at getting the fifth spot since the Rays are missing Jeremy Hellickson for the first few months of the season. The 35-year-old started 26 games with the Astros last season.

Ramos is dealing with some fragile personal issues since his wife was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma 2 years ago. After she finished radiation last year, him and his wife found out they were having a baby and now Ramos plans to have a different outlook on the season ahead. The right-hander allowed two earned runs and struck out two in an early spring training win over the Yankees.

Bedard assisted with the recent win against the Blue Jays and he has impressed the coaching staff throughout Spring Training.

The Rays’ have released the following players to the minors: Kirby Yats, Jeff Beliveau, C.J. Riefenhauser, Kevin Kiermaier, Hak-Ju Lee, and Vince Belnome.

The spring roster for Tampa Bay now sits at 44. Despite Karns’ decent play against the Blue Jays last week, it wasn’t enough to keep him in the competition for starting rotation.

Manager Joe Maddon told that sending Karns to camp is not a bad move.

“He’s a major league pitcher. There’s a couple of things we want him to work on.”

“We feel very confident he’s going to help us this year and possibly help us a lot.”

Maddon went on to say that recently, they’ve sent players to camp and they’ve come back a better player. The Rays did that with Chris Archer and Alex Cobb and look at what they’ve done.

There is a lot of exceptional playing ability in this competition and it’s going to be a tough race. What it comes down to is talent. Maddon knows the level of talent is remarkable and he is confident that sending guys to camp with help them overall.

As for the three left competing for the fifth spot, that is yet to be determined.

For more on this story visit: Bill Chastain,