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Picked Off: Spring Training Boxscores 3/3/2009

SP Jeff Neimann, Tampa Bay Rays:  Neimann is out of options, and his five strikeout effort helps make sure the Rays do not try to DFA him.  Michael Bourn did steal two bases off him, and I wonder if there is anything to read into that.

In addition to Neimann, Jason Hammel is also out of options and off to a fast start this Spring.  This situation already had baseball pundits claiming it is better for David Price to go back to AAA and keep the out of options pitchers on the major league club.  I can't help wondering if this isn't penny wise and pound foolish.

Prior to last season, the Rays had to maximize whatever value the team could wring from a last place roster.  That changed last season as the Rays won the ultra competitve AL East.

With the Yankees and Red Sox still as likely to win the AL East this season, can the Rays afford to keep the better pitcher in the minors so two 5th starter/long relief types can go unclaimed?  Isn't is quite possible that the difference between winning and losing the division/wild card will be those three or four games Neimann/Hammel start rather than Price?

SS, Reid Brignac, Tampa Bay Rays:  He hit his first HR of the Spring.  More importantly, he started at 2B.  A move to add flexibility signals the Rays may be ready to use Brignac this season regardless of the presence of Jason Bartlett.

1B Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins:  Given the first base job thanks to his defense and solid offensive skills, Sanchez is doing his best to give it back.  After going 0-3, he is now oh for the Spring.

SP Ian Snell, Pittsburgh Pirates:  Snell threw three shutpout innings for the Puerto Rico WBC team and struck out three.  After last season's crash and burn, Snell can be a major sleeper if last season's problems are solved.