The Tampa Rays have pitching to deal, according to Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times, and they might use that pitching to bolster their offense. In particular, Tompkin suggests that the Rays might be willing to part with either Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis for Cubs' catcher Geovany Soto.
Done. We'll send over the paperwork tomorrow.
If the Cubs could land either of those two pitchers for Soto, I'd do it in a heartbeat. As they say, you can never have too much pitching.
As for Soto, sure he won Rookie of the Year in 2008, but he has been up-and-down and injury prone ever since. He is set to "earn" $4.3 million in 2012, his second year of arbitration, which is more than either Niemann (either $2.75 or $3.2 million, depending on the arbitor) or Davis ($1.5 million) is expected to make.
Soto may benefit from a change of scenery and, as I've said before, I would like to see what Welington Castillo could do in the starting role (with Steve Clevenger as the backup).
Niemann, who turns 29 in February, is the more experienced of the two pitchers, posting a career 4.16 ERA (97 ERA+) in 506.1 IP in the majors. The 4th pick overall in the 2004 draft, Niemann has a 6.7 K/9 rate while only allowing 2.9 BB/9.
Davis was a 3rd round selection in 2004 and has a career 4.22 ERA (92 ERA+) in 388.1 IP. He has struck out only 5.9 per 9, while allowing 3.2 walks per 9, but is about 2 1/2 years younger than Niemann. He is signed through 2014 ($2.8 million for 2013 and $4.8 million for 2014), with options for 2015 ($7 million), 2016 ($8 million) and 2017 ($10 million).
While Niemann has better overall stats, he is still arbitration eligible for two more years. Davis is younger and is cost controlled through at least 2014. Still, I think either one would be a fine addition to the Cubs.
I wouldn't get your hopes up though, as it sounds like Tompkin's article was mostly speculation. But, after living through the nightmare that was the 2011 Cubs starting rotation, its nice to fantasize about having some quality pitching (and depth) in 2012.