According to a major league source familiar with the development, the Rockies are interested in right-hander Jason Hammel. Tampa Bay is still deciding between Hammel and Jeff Niemann for the job as No. 5 starter, and both are out of minor-league options.
The Padres had interest in both pitchers two weeks ago, but the source confirmed a weekend report in the San Diego Union-Tribune that "talks [with San Diego] have gone nowhere."
Having lost Jeff Francis for the season, the cash-strapped Rockies have a rotation of Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa and Franklin Morales or Greg Smith.
"I think they've all got room for improvement," [manager Clint] Hurdle said. "But with a pitcher, just like with a hitter, it could all click with that next outing.Tampa's depth is such that super-prospect David Price will open the season in Triple-A. But the Rays recognize a chance to deal from strength and add to their system. They are looking at Rockies prospects from the Double-A level down.
"I don't want to make it sound like we are in a state of denial, but we are in the same spot as a lot of teams. Everybody is looking for something. At least with Jason we have an experienced guy who's been very professional. With Jorge, you look at that success he had the second half of last season. He's a young talent, and we are going to continue to stick with him and make the right decisions with him."