Angels GM on Bobby Abreu: “Right now, he fits our roster”

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Last week Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported that the Angels would accept a “middling prospect” in exchange for Bobby Abreu and his $9 million salary, but yesterday general manager Jerry Dipoto downplayed the team’s chances of parting with Abreu.

“Bobby is an Angel,” Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “Right now, he fits on our 25-man roster, in our clubhouse, on our team. Where he is in eight weeks is predicated on how he’s playing and everyone’s health. … As I told him, if he swings the bat like he can, we’re going to find a way to play him.”

In other words, there’s no reason for the Angels to trade Abreu before knowing if Kendrys Morales and to a lesser extent Mark Trumbo is going to be healthy for Opening Day, particularly if all they might get in return is a mediocre prospect and even that could require eating a big chunk of his salary.

However, if everyone is healthy at some point the Angels will have too many bats and not enough lineup spots for them, and while Dipoto has thrown cold water on rumors involving Abreu and Trumbo a deal to lessen the logjam remains likely eventually.

Abreu certainly isn’t worth $9 million at age 38, but he’s also not totally washed up. He posted a .353 on-base percentage in 142 games last season, topping a .350 mark for the 14th consecutive year, and also chipped in 21 steals. He’d be useful for plenty of teams if the Angels cover a lot of salary and want a little in return.

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.