Priced out on Zack Greinke, Angels GM calls moving on a “practical decision”

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Early in the offseason the Angels were shopping Ervin Santana (who they eventually traded) and Dan Haren (whose option they eventually declined) because they wanted to clear payroll space to re-sign Zack Greinke, making that the focus of their winter.

Unfortunately for the Angels once Greinke actually hit the open market and the offers started rolling in they found his price tag was above their means, so now they’ve dropped out of the running for Greinke and turned to Joe Blanton as a much cheaper fallback option.

“We’re prepared to move on from Zack,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said, via Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is make practical decisions. Nobody operates without a ceiling.”

While true, that’s quite a change from last offseason when the Angels broke the bank to sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson for a combined $320 million. And that’s also quite different than the Dodgers’ current approach to spending, which seemingly is without a ceiling.

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.