Cesar Ramos Joins Battle For Rotation Spot

The injury to Jeremy Hellickson opened up a spot in the Tampa Bay Rays rotation. Initially it appeared as if Jake Odorizzi would step in for the injured Hellickson but then the team signed veteran lefty Erik Bedard to join the fray.

Today, Rays Manager Joe Maddon entered a new name on the list in lefty reliever Cesar Ramos. This morning Neil Solondz of Rays Radio asked Joe Maddon whether or not he would consider stretching out Ramos and allowing him to compete for a starting pitchers role.

“We’re doing that, that’s exactly what were doing,” Maddon said. “We’re stretching him out and considering him.” It’s an idea that was discussed over the winter between Ramos and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman.

When the Rays acquired Ramos he had been a starting pitcher coming up through the minor league system and made two starts for them in 2009.  The Rays also began to stretching him back out as a starter back in 2012 while he was with the Durham Bulls.

Ramos is out of options meaning if he doesn’t make the team in some role he’d have to be exposed to waivers before sending him to the minors. If he can show that he is a viable starting pitching option he may have enhanced trade value toward the end of spring training if the Rays feel they have other options in the rotation and bullpen.

The decision on the fifth starter should be made by the middle of March and Joe Maddon was quick to include Nate Karns and Alex Colome in the conversation along with Odorizzi, Bedard, and Ramos.