Are the White Sox going to let A.J. Pierzynski walk?

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Jim Bowden reports — that always sounds weird, by the way — that the White Sox have not yet offered a contract to free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. And maybe they shouldn’t, because he has declined a great deal and he probably wants multiple years when he doesn’t really deserve them.  But it does leave me wondering what the Sox plan on doing at catcher.

Why? Because while everyone has assumed for a couple of years that prospect Tyler Flowers would take over behind the plate once A.J. was gone, he didn’t have a great year in Charlotte, regressing pretty substantially after an outstanding 2009 split between Triple-A and Double-A.  I saw him once when the Knights came to Columbus and, while I’m no scout, he had some pretty terrible-looking at bats.

Catcher take awhile to develop, but Flowers is going to be 25 in January.  Can he be trusted to simply step in and competently handle the catching duties for the White Sox? And if not, who is going to be there to pick him up when he falters?  A.J. Pierzynski? Someone else?

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.