Angels and Nationals should consider a smaller trade

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Many are trying to set the Nationals up with Peter Bourjos after they lost another starting outfielder to injury in Jayson Werth over the weekend. That’d be nice and all, but the artillery is lacking to pull it off.

Instead, I’m thinking about a smaller deal here, if the two teams have in fact talked: Alberto Callaspo for Jesus Flores.

The Angels could really use a catcher with Chris Iannetta out 6-8 weeks following wrist surgery and Hank Conger sidelined with a sprained elbow. Flores has yet to show the promise he did before shoulder problems cost him all of 2010, but he is solid defensively and he might yet make an impact offensively if he could get regular playing time. For the Angels, he could start in the short-term and then replace Bobby Wilson as Iannetta’s backup later this season. The Nationals probably won’t ever have an expanded role for him if Wilson Ramos remains healthy.

The Nationals, on the other hand, could use another option at second base with Danny Espinosa floundering. Callaspo has played mostly third lately, but he came up as a second baseman and would be a useful stopgap there until Espinosa figures things out. He’d also be valuable insurance in case of another injury to Ryan Zimmerman. The Angels could move Callaspo and still have Maicer Izturis and Mark Trumbo at third base, with prospect Luis Jimenez also capable of stepping in at some point.

So, I think this one would work well for both teams. Who’s with me?

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.