Report: Winning bid for Yu Darvish around $48 million

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We won’t know anything official until next week, but Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com writes that reports in Japan indicate that the winning bid for Yu Darvish came in around $48 million.

If the $48 million figure proves accurate, it would fall just under the record $51,111,111 sum the Red Sox paid for exclusive negotiating rights with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. They ended up agreeing to a six-year, $52 million contract.

George A. King III of the New York Post reported yesterday that the Blue Jays have the highest bid for Darvish, checking in somewhere between $40-50 million. We’ll have to wait to find out if that’s the case, but the winning team would have 30 days to work out a contract. The 25-year-old right-hander is reportedly seeking a five-year, $75 million deal, which could push the total investment over $120 million for an MLB team.

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.