After shopping around, Gomes re-signs with Reds

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Jonny Gomes spent the weekend searching for a better offer, but ultimately couldn’t land a major-league deal elsewhere and has decided to settle for re-signing with the Reds.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer say Gomes’ last-minute shopping coaxed the Reds’ into giving him a major-league deal, while Mark Sheldon of MLB.com says general manager Walt Jocketty told him it was a minor-league pact. And they’re all reporting from the same clubhouse!
Whatever the case, Gomes is essentially certain to be on the Opening Day roster regardless of the contract type and coming back to Cincinnati represents his best chance for semi-regular playing time. He’ll likely platoon with the left-handed-hitting Chris Dickerson in left field and should get 300 or so trips to the plate.
He ranked second on the Reds in OPS last season, batting .267/.338/.541 with 20 homers in 314 plate appearances, but was non-tendered in December and the market for right-handed platoon bats with limited defensive ability was extremely lacking this offseason. Jermaine Dye is still looking for work and the Gomes-like Marcus Thames managed only a minor-league deal from the Yankees.
UPDATE: Sheldon had it wrong. Gomes gets a big-league deal and a spot on the 40-man roster.

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.