Report: Phillies have a deal in place for Roy Oswalt

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According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Phillies and Astros have a deal in place involving Roy Oswalt and are waiting for the 32-year-old right-hander to decide whether he wants to waive his no-trade clause. 

Berman writes that the two sides “have agreed on the amount of money” that the Astros will eat from Oswalt’s contract and the players that the Phillies will be sending to Houston.

If the report is true and the deal is only pending Oswalt’s approval, our guess is that he goes.  The Astros are a lost franchise and currently reside in fifth place in the National League Central.  They need him to take his hefty contract elsewhere, and he’d be wise to jump at the opportunity to play for a contender.

Oswalt has a 3.42 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 129 innings this season.  He is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season, $16 million for 2011 and he also carries a $16 million option for 2012.  He wants that option picked up by the team that acquires him and that may be causing the hold-up.  Oswalt will be 34 at the start of the 2012 season and he turns 35 during it.  His numbers haven’t declined this season — in fact, he’s seen a bit of a resurgence — but the Phillies probably don’t want to pay for former Houston general manager Tim Purpura’s mistakes.  He made a whole lot of them during his short stay with the club.

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.