Jason Varitek: one more year with the Sox

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The Red Sox declined their $5 team option on Jason Varitek yesterday, but the Captain had a $3 million player option that he decided to exercise last night:

NESN learned on Monday night that the 37-year-old Varitek will exercise
his $3 million player option for 2010 that includes up to another $2
million in incentives. The move is expected to be formalized on Tuesday
and will keep Varitek with the Red Sox through at least the end of 2010.

With
the incentives, Varitek would earn an additional $400,000 for starting
80 games in 2010 and another bonus for every 10 starts thereafter.

Varitek is done as a useful player. His bat is subpar and his defense is atrocious.  Given that the Sox exercised their option on Victor Martinez, ‘Tek will almost certainly be the backup catcher, making those incentives less than likely to kick in absent a Youkilis or Lowell injury that forces Martinez to first base.  

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.