Seventy-nine players filed for free agency yesterday

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Seventy-nine players filed for free agency yesterday. The two teams with the most filers: the Cardinals with seven and the Dodgers with six.

For the Cardinals: Rick Ankiel, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Khalil Greene, Matt Holliday, Jason LaRue and John Smoltz.  Off the top of my head in terms of “would I sign them-a-bilitiy”: yes, yes, no, no, yes, no and (regretfully) no.  In making that judgment I’m assuming that they’ll get roughly what they’re really worth as opposed to finding someone to overpay them. Ankiel could be useful if he doesn’t demand too much dough. DeRosa isn’t as valuable as everyone likes to think he is, but he’s solid and versatile.  Holliday is a no-brainer at Matt Holliday dollars but not worth the Mark Teixeira bucks his agent is allegedly seeking. 

The Dodgers have the most potential free agents at 16. Six filed yesterday: Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Eric Milton, Orlando Hudson, Ronnie Belliard and Doug Mientkiewicz. Same exercise: yes, yes, no, yes, maybe, and no. None of the yeses seem like they”ll break the bank, and all of them could prove useful to any number of teams.  Wolf may make some real money, but he’s a lefty, and lefties always seem to make their money.

Upside to all of this: having fewer kids around will make custody and child support negotiations easier for the McCourts.

The Dodgers have ten other potential free agents, nine of whom are Brad Ausmus, Juan Castro, Mark Loretta, Guillermo Mota, Will Ohman, Vicente Padilla, Jason Schmidt, Jim Thome, and Jeff Weaver.  Outside of Padilla, I can’t feature them really making an effort to keep any of those guys. Maybe Weaver. Things are always more fun when a Weaver is involved.  

And then there’s Manny. His decision on his option is due by November 10th. The odds of him not exercising seem extraordinarily long to the point of absurdity. Boras will probably wait until the last minute though so he can tell everyone he had heard informal expressions of interest from a half dozen teams.

Every team had players filing for free agency except the Yankees and the Phillies, who have been otherwise occupied lately, and the Reds and Pirates who, last I checked, don’t have any players above the age of eight, let alone any high profile free agents.

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.