An in-depth look at the “should Jesus Montero catch” question

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Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron takes an extended look at the question I briefly touched on on Saturday: what position should Jesus Montero play now that he’s a Seattle Mariner?

My quick view, based on the roster more than anything else, was that Montero should at least be given a shot to catch to see how he does and see if he can be made serviceable.  Dave’s view: that if Montero can avoid being the worst catcher in baseball, it’s probably worth a shot, citing Mike Napoli as a success story. With success being defined as “no, he’s not great, but his bat at catcher outweighs his defensive shortcomings.”

Of course, there’s an in-depth statistical analysis of all of this which, even if you don’t care about the stats themselves of about Montero or the Mariners, provide a nice walk though all of the ways catchers’ defense matters.  It’s not just about throwing out base stealers.

And while we’re on the subject, let me promote myself by noting that I will be on NBC SportsTalk on the NBC Sports Network tonight at around 6:50 Eastern to discuss the Montero-Michael Pineda trade.  You should totally watch: I’m sneaky-handsome.

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.