UPDATE: The deal is now official, with Tocci signing for $759,000.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies are on the verge of signing 16-year-old Venezuelan center fielder Carlos Tocci for around $750,000, with the only holdup being that they have to wait until he turns 16 and is actually eligible to sign.
He’ll help restock a farm system that has seen numerous top prospects traded away in recent years, with Ben Badler of Baseball America writing that the 6-foot-2, 150-pound Tocci “is one of the more intriguing prospects in Venezuela” and “is a plus-plus runner who shows feel for hitting with a line-drive swing.”
Colorado was also reportedly in the mix for Tocci.
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.