Big trouble ahead if the Rangers deal isn't done in May

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Evan Grant reports that if the Rangers sale isn’t done by June, the team will have to take more money from Major League Baseball to make ends meet.

Last year baseball extended the team a $25 million line of credit. They used $16 million of it in 2009 to meet payroll obligations. Grant reports that both payroll and revenue are basically flat compared to last year, which suggests that baseball will have to go beyond that original $25 million. As Grant notes, since baseball is a creditor which expects its money back, the more money it gives to the team the less there is available for the troublesome, sale-blocking creditors, which makes closing the deal even harder. See, cycle, vicious.

What’s worse is that if we get to June and the team is still on the dole, they will be unable to pay real bonuses to their draft picks and, instead, will be required to pay MLB-imposed slot prices, which could seriously hinder the Rangers’ ability to, you know, get good players.

There have been a lot of self-imposed deadlines in this transaction, none of which have done much to spur real action by the parties. The end of May, however, brings with it serious consequences if the deal is not yet done. It would seem, then, that everyone had best get busy.

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.