Alfonso Soriano, unlike Aramis Ramirez, won’t block trade from Cubs

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Aramis Ramirez has reportedly informed the Cubs that he’d likely use the no-trade clause in his contract to block any deal, but Alfonso Soriano indicated yesterday that he wouldn’t stand in the way of a trade.

Of course, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com Soriano didn’t even realize he had a no-trade clause in his contract when the subject was first broached by reporters, so he probably hasn’t thought about the situation a whole lot.

Soriano is 35 years old and still owed $18 million in 2012, 2013, and 2014 as part of the eight-year, $136 million deal Chicago foolishly gave him in November of 2006, so the odds of the Cubs being able to move that contract are slim unless they’re willing to eat a significant percentage of the remaining money.

For his part Soriano told Mooney that he’d like to remain in Chicago, and with a .294 on-base percentage and .744 OPS contenders presumably won’t be beating down the Cubs’ door to make a play for him. On the other hand, this offseason the Blue Jays were able to convince the Angels to take Vernon Wells’ deal off their hands, so anything is possible.

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.