Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will be posted

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MLB teams in need of a shortstop but without the resources to go after Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins will have another intriguing option, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Hiroyuki Nakajima will be posted by his team in Japan.

Nakajima has long been a star in Japan, but the history of Japanese hitters–and infielders, in particular–coming to MLB is a mixed bag.

Last offseason the Twins paid $15 million for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a 26-year-old Gold Glove-winning shortstop who’d just won a batting title in Japan, and he was a massive flop. Nishioka’s lack of power was one of his biggest issues and Nakajima is a much different type of hitter, averaging 20 homers during the past four seasons while hitting above .300 for his career.

However, he’s coming off a mediocre year in which he slugged just .433, so the 29-year-old seems unlikely to create a significant bidding war. Via the posting process MLB teams submit bids for exclusive negotiating rights and then must work out a separate contract with the player, getting a refund on the bid if they can’t agree to a deal.

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.