Cardinals 'have options' for life without Holliday

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Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals “have yet to present an offer to” Matt Holliday and “acknowledge it is virtually certain their former cleanup hitter will reach the open market.”
“We have to be prepared if we can’t sign him,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “We need to have other options to pursue. And we do. There are always options. If something we pursue with Matt falls through, we’re certainly going to re-evaluate where we stand.”
Mozeliak added that he doesn’t plan to get into a bidding war despite agent Scott Boras’ claims that Holliday should command something close to the eight-year, $180 million deal signed by Mark Teixeira last offseason. And he shouldn’t, because my guess is that Holliday ends up closer to $100 million than $180 million.
Strauss speculates that the usual suspects like the Yankees, Mets, Angels, and Red Sox will be in the mix for Holliday, but Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are unlikely to seriously pursue Holliday or Jason Bay at their expected asking prices and the Red Sox may only turn to Holliday if attempts to re-sign Bay fall through.

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.