After designating Tony Campana for assignment last week the Cubs have traded him to the Diamondbacks for a pair of 17-year-old pitchers named Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo.
Leal and Castillo aren’t considered significant prospects, but getting two live arms with any sort of upside for Campana is pretty solid work for the Cubs considering he’s a fairly standard fourth outfielder-type who combines elite speed and range with a poor bat.
Campana has hit .262 with a .605 OPS in 184 games as a big leaguer, which is about what you’d expect based on his minor-league track record. If he ever got a chance to play regularly he’s capable of stealing 60-plus bases, but at age 27 that’s unlikely. He’s often described as “gritty,” though, and the Diamondbacks seem intent on cornering the market there.
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.