MLB teams already looking for loopholes in CBA

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Baseball America’s Ben Badler has an awfully interesting article up on how teams are already (and how they still might) look to exploit grey areas in the CBA in order to sign international prospects.

Starting on July 2, teams will be limited to spending $2.9 million in bonuses to international free agents through the next year. That’ll make things difficult on many teams, some of whom have exceeded that amount just to sign one player in past years.

So, teams will likely look for every advantage they can, whether it’s exploiting a loophole or maybe making some under-the-table payments. Badler has a number of examples of how things could work, and it’s well worth reading.

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.