Adam Wainwright expects contract talks with Cardinals during spring training

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Adam Wainwright is heading into the final year of his contract and after bouncing back well from Tommy John elbow surgery he’s in line for a huge long-term deal at age 31.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “both sides have expressed an interest in discussing an extension” and Wainwright’s agent “expects to discuss an extension with the Cardinals during spring training.”

One point of contention in potential extension talks is whether Wainwright wants to be valued like the guy who was a dominant ace before surgery or the guy who posted a 3.94 ERA in his first season back from elbow. Wainwright’s secondary numbers–strikeouts, walks, homers allowed–were actually fairly close to his pre-surgery levels, but his ERA didn’t quite show it, which could lead to some disagreement.

Either way, it’s hard to imagine Wainwright not getting $100 million offers if he hits the open market next offseason.

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.