Josh Hamilton, David Ortiz among free agents to receive qualifying offers

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Under the new collective bargaining agreement Type A and Type B free agent designations have been ditched in favor of teams needing to make a “qualifying offer” to free agents in order to receive compensation for their departure.

Qualifying offers are basically one-year deals for the average salary of the top 125 highest-paid players, which equals $13.3 million for 2013. Players have until next Friday to accept or decline the qualifying offer, and if they decline and sign elsewhere the old team gets a first-round pick as compensation and the new team is stripped of a first-round pick.

Today was the deadline to make qualifying offers and the following free agents received one:

– Josh Hamilton, Rangers
– David Ortiz, Red Sox
– Rafael Soriano, Yankees
– Nick Swisher, Yankees
– Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
– B.J. Upton, Rays
– Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
– Michael Bourn, Braves
– Adam LaRoche, Nationals

For a lot of those guys there’s zero chance of the qualifying offer being accepted. Kuroda seems like the best bet to simply take the one-year deal.

Prominent free agents who did not receive qualifying offers (but are still able to re-sign):

– Mike Napoli, Rangers
– Torii Hunter, Angels
– Shaun Marcum, Brewers
– Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
– Angel Pagan, Giants
– Edwin Jackson, Nationals

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.