Red Sox express interest in Adam Everett

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WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that Boston has contacted Adam Everett to “to express some preliminary interest,” which makes sense given that this year’s crop of free-agent agent shortstops is so underwhelming that the Red Sox have considered asking Dustin Pedroia to switch positions.
Everett is one of the worst hitters in baseball, but he’s long been an elite defensive shortstop, was originally taken by the Red Sox in the first round of the 1998 draft, and will come far cheaper than fellow free agents like Marco Scutaro, Miguel Tejada, and Orlando Cabrera.
Scutaro is the cream of the shortstop crop, but would require a multi-year deal and giving up next year’s first-round pick, while Tejada and Cabrera may not even be capable of handling shortstop defensively at this point. Ultimate Zone Rating had Everett as 8.9 runs above average defensively in 116 games for the Tigers this season and per 150 games he’s rated 18.3 runs above average for his entire career.
Everett turns 33 years old soon, so counting on that same extraordinary defense is no sure thing, but even a slight decline would leave him as one of the better defenders in the league. Red Sox fans may have a tough time seeing it, but Everett is fairly similar to Alex Gonzalez in overall value. Everett is a career .245/.297/.351 hitter with excellent defense. Gonzalez is a career .247/.294/.395 hitter with very good defense.
While it may not sound appealing, a .650 OPS combined with great defense would make Everett close to an average all-around shortstop. And unlike the prominent free-agent options Everett is also cheap enough that signing him to a one-year deal wouldn’t preclude the Red Sox from handing the job back to Jed Lowrie at some point. Everett is certainly no one’s idea of a No. 1 target and the Red Sox already traded him away for Carl Everett back in 1999, but as fallbacks go he’s palatable and cheap.

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.