Report: Cubs not willing to deal Sean Marshall

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com is hearing that the Cubs are telling teams that they have no interest in including reliever Sean Marshall in a trade.

While he has been a starter in the past, the 28-year-old Marshall has quietly emerged as one of the top left-handed set-up men in the game, posting an outstanding 2.52 ERA and 133/34 K/BB ratio since the start of the 2010 season. The 2003 sixth-round pick has a 2.40 ERA and 43/9 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings this season.

The Cubs bought out Marshall’s final two years of arbitration this winter by signing him to a two-year, $4.7 million contract. He’s still owed roughly half of his $1.6 million salary for this season and will make $3.1 million in 2012.

You may be asking yourself why the Cubs would want to pay that much to a reliever if they aren’t in contention. And it’s a fair question. But as Olney tweeted earlier today, the market for relievers is going to be saturated around the deadline. Even though it sounds like the Cubs may want to keep Marshall in good faith, they would probably be better served to wait if they want to get a quality prospect or two in return.

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.