Report: Rangers to make big run at Yu Darvish

19 Comments

USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale tweets the following:

Rival teams are predicting that the Rangers will be the winners in the [Yu] Darvish derby, with every scout predicting stardom.

It’s certainly an interesting thought. Once the posting fee is factored in, Darvish figures to be about as expensive as the Rangers’ own free-agent-to-be, C.J. Wilson, and if that’s the case, one wonders if Texas would truly gamble on the unknown over the known. Judging by his success in Japan and his legitimate major league arsenal, Darvish should be even better than Wilson. However, the transition from pitching once a week to once every five days could be a stumbling block, much as it seemed to be for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Anyway, it should be fascinating to watch. The Yankees and Red Sox, having lost big on Japanese starters in the past, could value Wilson over Darvish while Wilson’s own team puts Darvish on a pedestal.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
4 Comments

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.