Here’s how far Matt LaPorta’s stock has fallen since he was the centerpiece of the package Cleveland received for CC Sabathia in mid-2008: Yesterday the Indians dropped LaPorta from the 40-man roster and he went unclaimed by the other 29 teams on waivers.
That means LaPorta–now 28 years old and the owner a career .694 OPS in 291 games in the majors–will remain in the Indians’ organization after being sent outright to Triple-A. He’s no longer on the 40-man roster, however, so if he performs well in the minors the Indians would have to re-add him before a potential call-up.
LaPorta underwent hip surgery last month that makes him no sure thing to be healthy by Opening Day, so the former seventh overall pick is facing some long odds.
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.