Astros and No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa already progressing toward deal

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We’ve become accustomed to teams and their No. 1 overall picks negotiating right up until the signing deadline, but the Astros and shortstop Carlos Correa could have a deal done within days.

According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the two sides are already progressing toward an agreement. The deal is expected to be worth around $5 million, which would be a bit under the $7.2 million slot value for the pick. In other words, the Astros should have some extra cash available to pry No. 41 overall pick Lance McCullers, Jr. away from his commitment with Florida.

Heyman’s report appears to have legs, as Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that they hope to have Correa signed by Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Puerto Rico native is expected to report to extended spring training before beginning his professional career with the Gulf Coast League Astros.

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.