It’s getting closer to last call and Hunter Pence is starting to look better

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Buster Olney put the trade dynamic in perspective this morning, reminding us that for all of this excitement and all of the teams trying to outdo one another for the likes of Hunter Pence, he’s currently 18th in batting average, 50th in OBP and 54th in slugging.  Elite? No.  More like the last dude at the bar at last call who, while having someone to recommend him, is not who the Phillies planned on taking home with them when they got here earlier this evening.  But hey, better than going home alone, right?

For what it’s worth, Olney says there’s a “bidding war” afoot.  Ken Rosenthal says the Phillies are making progress, and that the package they want to send to Houston is centered around Single-A right-hander Jarred Cosart and Single-A first baseman Jonathan Singleton. That may not be enough, though, and the Braves lurk.

Closing time is coming soon, bidders. Gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits. I hope you have found a friend.

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.