Dusty Baker taking his time deciding on Reds extension offer

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Not so long ago Dusty Baker was believed to be on the hot seat after back-to-back losing seasons, but now the veteran manager is taking his sweet time deciding whether or not to accept the Reds’ contract extension offer.
Baker’s current contract expires after this season and with the Reds in first place at 72-53 he may be interested in seeing what kind of other offers are available on the open market as a free agent this winter.
Or maybe he’s just holding out in order to force the Reds into offering more than a one-year extension. General manager Walt Jocketty declined to discuss the situation yesterday and Baker said merely “we just started talking.”
Because of Baker’s history as a player and manager on the West Coast the Associated Press speculates that he could be an option to replace Joe Torre with the Dodgers and there are likely to be several other prominent openings this offseason.
Not only are the Reds on track for their first playoff appearance since 1995, with 10 more victories Baker will have his first winning season as a manager since 2004.

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.