The Reds are interested in James Shields

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Buster Olney tweeted this morning that the Reds are interested in James Shields.  The Rays may be receptive too, given that Tampa Bay scouts have been evaluating Reds minor leaguers this week.

It would be a pretty good time for the Rays to trade Shields.  He’s been fantastic this year, logging seven complete games so far, and showing once again that he is a total workhorse. And of course, given how little starting pitching is available at the moment, they could demand a pretty high price for him, I’d presume. I mean, it’s not like the Reds are the only team who would have a use for the guy.

Meanwhile, the Reds could use something to kickstart a rotation which sports the third worst ERA in the National League, better than only the Astros and the Cubs.

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.