The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame

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For the third straight year friend of the blog Graham Womack has compiled a list of the 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame. Well, he and 148 voters did it. And then scores of excellent baseball writers wrote blurbs about the should-be enshrinees.

The top vote-getter: Tim Raines.  But really, there are a ton of worthy guys not in.  More than a dozen who are on this year’s real Hall of Fame ballot and won’t be voted in, by the way.

As always, good stuff. Check it out.

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.