The Angels are the front-runners for Adrian Beltre

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Angels are now the front-runners for Adrian Beltre’s services because (a) the Athletics have dropped out; and (b) the Rangers don’t feel comfortable making the commitment in dollars and years that Beltre seems to want.

The A’s have been jerked around by Beltre for a long time, it seems. They had an offer out there. He showed no interest in it. You can’t blame them for saying goodbye to the whole situations.  Likewise, Nolan Ryan seemed to make it pretty clear yesterday that he’s not comfortable going more then three years for a player no matter who he is. Rosenthal says that Boras is looking for at least five years for Beltre. So it would seem that the Angels are the only team in play for Beltre.

That is, unless a mystery team is suddenly reported to be interested.  But that never, ever happens with Scott Boras clients, does it?

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.