The Dodgers are talking long-term deal with Clayton Kershaw

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Buster Olney tweeted early this morning that the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw are talking about a long term deal.

It’s not serious yet — just the greetings and preliminaries — but this a signing the Dodgers need to make.  Stay out of the Prince Fielder derby if you want to, but locking up the future of the franchise is essential.  They got Matt Kemp. Now it’s time to get Kershaw.

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.