Reds ink Johnny Cueto to a four-year, $27M extension

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From Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes comes word that the Reds have agreed to a four-year, $27 million contract extension with young right-hander Johnny Cueto.

Cueto, 25 next month, was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.  This new extension will allow both sides to avoid an often tumultuous arbitration hearing and will keep the talented Dominican native in Cincinnati through his first year of free agency.

Cueto posted a 3.64 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 31 starts last season for the National League Central champion Reds, fanning 138 batters and walking only 56 across 185.2 innings of work.  He finished with a 4.41 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 30 starts in 2009.

If his development continues as expected and he remains a reliable No. 2 or No. 3 starter over these next three seasons in Cincy, the extension should pay off greatly.

The Reds inked another one of their young talents, first baseman Joey Votto, to a three-year, $38 million contract extension just four days ago.  It has been a busy little week for the Cincinnati front office.

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.