Why can't Matt Murton find a job?

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Yesterday the Rockies became the third team in two years to give up on outfielder Matt Murton, designating him for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for washed-up reliever Juan Rincon and his 5.45 ERA over the past three seasons.
Murton turns 28 years old in a couple months, but has gotten more than 275 plate appearances in a season exactly once, back in 2006 with the Cubs. He hit .297 with a .365 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage that year, yet in the three seasons since then he’s received a grand total of 383 plate appearances for three different teams.
Given all the bouncing around that he’s done recently you might assume that Murton is pretty useless, but that’s hardly the case. He’s a career .287/.353/.438 hitter in 339 games as a major leaguer, has hit .312/.388/.469 in 220 games at Triple-A, and grades out as an asset defensively in either outfield corner according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
He’s certainly never going to be a star or perhaps even a strong everyday player, but Murton is better and more useful than dozens of guys who’ve had permanent homes on MLB rosters for the past few seasons and would make an excellent platoon starter against left-handed pitching if given an extended opportunity.
Against southpaws he’s batted .306/.374/.483 in 390 plate appearances in the majors and .335/.410/.536 in 400 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, which alone makes him worthy of a roster spot. Toss in the fact that he’s still relatively young, very cheap, and available for absolutely nothing, and … well, it’ll be a shame if Murton clears waivers and heads back to Triple-A again.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.