Can someone please explain the Troy Tulowitzki deal to me?

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At least from the Rockies’ perspective?

Tulowitzki is a great talent. If I were starting a team now he’d be on the short list of players who might be my first pick. He’s obviously loved in Colorado.  But a six year extension that starts in 2015? Really? What was motivating the Rockies to extend a guy who was under team control through 2014 already? Was the prospect of Todd Helton’s deal finally falling off the books in 2013 too scary to contemplate? “Quick! We need to find a way to spend an unreasonable chunk of our limited payroll on one player after 2013! Sign Tulo for a decade, stat!”

A lot can happen in four seasons. Ask Eric Chavez. There is a possibility that the extension portion of this deal is an albatross before it even kicks in.  And what about value for the length of the deal? Derek Jeter made a ten year contract work, but at least he was on the verge of free agency at the time. Todd Helton is proof positive — right in front of the Rockies’ noses — that a deal of that length can go sideways. Helton’s was originally a nine-year deal. It was pretty good four four years. It was serviceable for a fifth. Since then he has been a role player or worse, making so much money that it has limited the Rockies’ financial flexibility to go out and get other pieces.

The same could easily happen to Tulowitzki. Indeed, I’d say that odds favor it. The per-annum dollars themselves aren’t crazy, but that length and the timing is.  This isn’t as bad as Alex Rodriguez’s current deal, but unless the economics of the Colorado Rockies change fundamentally, it will eat up a larger percentage of team payroll each year than A-Rod’s deal ever did. What was pushing this onto the Rockies’ agenda?

Oh well, it’s not my money.  And hey, there’s a bright side: if mid-market teams are back to signing guys for a decade, I suppose that’s proof positive that the recession is truly over.

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.