Cardinals GM calls re-signing Kyle Lohse “unlikely”

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Kyle Lohse is hitting the open market coming off back-to-back career-years and today Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak admitted that re-signing the free agent right-hander is “probably unlikely.”

Some of that no doubt has to do with Lohse being in line for a big contract, but even if he were somewhat affordable the Cardinals have no shortage of rotation options with prospects Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal joining holdovers Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn, and Joe Kelly. And that’s not even counting Jaime Garcia, whose status is uncertain because of shoulder problems.

Lohse has thrown 400 innings with a 3.13 ERA during the past two seasons, so counting on anyone duplicating that performance stepping into his rotation spot would be silly. Of course, counting on Lohse to duplicate that performance in 2013 and beyond might be just as silly and in the meantime the Cardinals can get younger and cheaper.

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.