Anatomy of the Halladay swap

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Halladay Phillies.jpgIf you’re snowed in like me, or just
have a few minutes to kill before football dominates the day, I
recommend reading Andy Martino’s excellent piece from the Philadelphia
Inquirer
recounting Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro’s pursuit of ace Roy Halladay.



Of course, the Phillies tried for
Roy Halladay in July, but the talks were rekindled with one simple
conversation at the November GM meetings in Chicago, when Amaro and his lieutenants approached new general manager Alex Anthopoulos
waiting for an elevator at the O’Hare Hilton.

I want to ask you something,” Amaro said, according to Anthopoulos.

The two walked down a hallway and chatted about Halladay.

Amaro was direct and aggressive. “What’s your asking price?” he
said, before offering Anthopoulos a few days to think about his answer
and get back to the Phillies. 

But the Toronto GM did not need any time; he remembered the player he’d been most impressed with in July.

“We like Drabek,” he said.

Martino touches on all aspects of
the trade, including the failed attempt to deal Joe Blanton and the
subsequent decision to trade Cliff Lee, the almost-trade of Phillippe
Aumont and Tyson Gillies to the Blue Jays and the madness of the
“flunked physical” that wasn’t. It’s a fascinating piece, not just
because of the complexity of the trade, but Amaro’s overt determination
to have Halladay in Philadelphia at any cost, even if it meant dealing
away a postseason hero.

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.