Octavio Dotel getting interest from Rays, Pirates, Blue Jays

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According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com the Rays, Pirates, and Blue Jays are among the teams interested in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel.

Pittsburgh being in the mix is interesting, because the Pirates signed Dotel to a one-year, $3.5 million deal as a free agent last offseason and then traded him to the Dodgers on July 31 for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. That was a pretty great return, so perhaps general manager Neal Huntington wants to give it a try again.

Dotel is 37 years old, sometimes struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark, and has lost a bit of velocity in recent years, but he still averaged 92 miles per hour with his fastball in 2010 and racked up 75 strikeouts in just 64 innings. He’s never averaged fewer than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in a full relief season.

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.