Diamondbacks reach three-year, $26 million deal with Cody Ross

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UPDATE: Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that Ross got a three-year, $26 million contract. The deal includes a club option for 2016 which carries a $1 million buyout. Not a bad deal for someone who made $3 million in 2012.

12:01 PM: According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Cody Ross has reached agreement with the Diamondbacks on a three-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

This is a pretty surprising destination for Ross, as he hasn’t been linked to the Diamondbacks at all this winter. The latest we heard was a meeting with the Rangers earlier this week.

The Diamondbacks already have Justin Upton, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton in-house, so the addition of Ross is a bit superfluous on the surface. However, general manager Kevin Towers now figures to step up his efforts to trade an outfielder, likely Kubel. And I suppose it’s possible Upton could be dealt if they are blown away by an offer.

Ross, who turns 32 tomorrow, batted .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs, 81 RBI and an .807 OPS in 130 games this past season with the Red Sox. He enjoyed most of his success at Fenway Park, but he should have a decent chance at a comparable follow-up playing half of his games at the hitter-friendly Chase Field.

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.