Dejan tweets that the physical is done and the ink has been applied to the contract between Church and the Pirates.
The deal is a one-year, $1.5MM agreement with up to $1.32MM in plate appearance-based incentives, with 600 plate appearances meaning he’ll have realized a raise from last year. Given that the Pirates have said that they’re wanting to use him as something of a swingman, I’m seriously doubting he’ll get the plate appearances, however.
Given this signing, Rick Ankiel may have better luck trying to shop himself as a reliever at this point than an outfielder, because he’s running out of potential landing pads.
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.