Torii Hunter signs a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers

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It’s not 100% done yet — it’s pending a physical — but Ken Rosenthal reports that the Tigers have signed Torii Hunter to a two-year deal. The deal is for $26 million.

Hunter and the Tigers are a perfect fit.  He can slide right in to right field — or left and can probably still fill in center if something happens to Austin Jackson — and will provide a considerable upgrade on defense while helping solidify a lineup that, beyond Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, could be pitched to last season. You have to assume he’ll bat second behind Jackson and in front of Cabrera, Fielder and Victor Martinez.  He may be a more ideal five or six-hitter though.

Hunter finished last season with the highest average (.313) of his career while driving in 92. He’s 37, of course, so he’s likely to see some falloff. But he still provides a nice upgrade and is widely regarded to be one of the best clubhouse guys in the game.

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.