The owners are meeting, the owners are meeting!

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The most important part of all of this is that Bud Selig and the owners are meeting in some posh resort just outside of Phoenix while most of you are up to your neck in snow. They just don’t care about us fans, do they? Shame. Shame, I say.

Oh, they’re doin’ other stuff too:

MLB owners will begin their two-day quarterly owners meeting today in Paradise Valley, Ariz., with preparation for the upcoming CBA negotiations with the MLBPA again at the top of the agenda. No significant formal action items from the owners are expected, but much like owners meetings throughout ’10, discussion toward the upcoming labor talks will be paramount. The current five-year accord expires after the ’11 season.

For those of you who are growing increasingly disillusioned with what’s going on with the NFL labor talks, know that there is very, very little chance of a work stoppage in baseball.  A deal will be done and it will be pretty painless, mostly because neither the players nor the owners want anything that is anathema to the other.

Yes, we’ve heard that the owners want a slotted drafting system (i.e. where picks gets a set bonus based on where they are selected), and yes, union head Michael Weiner has referred to that as “a salary cap,” and the MLBPA absolutely hates salary caps, so there will likely be some back and forth on that.  But at the end of the day, union members have never really had a problem throwing non-members under the bus, and I suspect they’ll do so in this instance, even if the union leadership is philosophically opposed to it.  Same with the international draft if that becomes a part of collective bargaining.

I think both of those things are bad ideas, but the players aren’t going to risk a work stoppage to fight for them. Instead, they’ll simply extract some concessions from the owners to make them happen. Perhaps the removal of draft pick compensation or at least a revamping of it.  Probably a substantial raise in the minimum salary, which will assuage players’ guilt over caving in on slotting.  Some other things.

Basically, though, the owners and the players have realized that sixteen years of labor peace has been outrageously good for their bottom line.  No one is going to the mattresses over anything in play this time around.

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.