Brewers decline 2012 options on K-Rod and Betancourt

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With option decisions due by midnight Monday, teams are beginning to make things official. We’ll have all of the transactions as they stream in.

Here are some obvious ones.

According to the Associated Press, via the New York Post, the Brewers have declined a $17.5 million mutual option on right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, paying him a $4 million buyout instead.

Rodriguez posted a strong 2.64 ERA and 79/26 K/BB ratio in 71 2/3 innings this season between the Mets and Brewers, and he should draw many suitors on the open market this winter, but $17.5 million is a pretty penny for any reliever — no matter how dominant.

The Brewers also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. He has slugged a total of 29 home runs over the past two seasons, but he’s a poor defender and owns a pitiful .292 career on-base percentage. The next team to give him a try should strongly consider a position change.

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.