Jeff Conine: I’d probably trade Hanley Ramirez

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Mr. Marlin isn’t down with the team’s present superstar.

Jeff Conine, who served two stints in teal and is currently employed by the Marlins as a special assistant to team president David Samson, went on The Dan LeBetard show Friday and said Hanley Ramirez frustrates him “on a nightly basis” and that he’d “probably” trade the shortstop if it were up to him.

When asked why Ramirez frustrates him so, Conine responded:

I don’t know. I just, I don’t know. I think that obviously Hanley is a phenomenal talent. But as a guy that — I’m probably jealous too, because I didn’t have that kind of talent, but I had to work extremely hard on a nightly basis to put my talent on the field. I think there are some nights where he doesn’t try as hard as he should.

Conine went on to say that Ramirez was “one of the top five talents in baseball,” but that he doesn’t know if he cares enough.

Ramirez had a miserable first three months of 2011 and is currently hitting .249/.338/.394 in 297 at-bats. While he’s been much better of late — he’s hit .348/.434/.636 with five homers and 18 RBI during July — he’s going to need a scorching second half to beat his 2010 numbers, which were already a big disappointment based on what he did from 2007-09.

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.