Agent says Aramis Ramirez won’t waive no-trade clause to leave Cubs

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Aramis Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that the third baseman likely would not waive his no-trade clause to facilitate leaving the Cubs.

Of course, it might be a moot point anyway, as Ramirez is making $14.6 million this season with a $16 million option or $2 million buyout for 2012.

Toss in his measly two homers and .394 slugging percentage in 52 games and it’s hard to imagine any contenders being interested unless the Cubs basically eat the entire contract.

Kinzer noted that Ramirez “took less years and less money to stay in Chicago, so that is definitely his first option.” However, that’s a bit of a moot point as well, since there’s zero chance of the Cubs picking up his $16 million option for next season anyway. Ramirez is all but certain to leave Chicago after the season, so the question is whether he’s willing to leave a couple months earlier.

Apparently not, although Kinzer did say that the Cubs haven’t broached the topic yet.

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.