Royals will make qualifying offer to Ervin Santana

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No surprise, but general manager Dayton Moore confirmed to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the Royals will make a qualifying offer to free agent Ervin Santana.

Santana will reject the offer because it’s essentially a one-year, $14 million deal and he can surely get plenty of multi-year deals on the open market, but this way the Royals will be in line for draft pick compensation if he ends up signing elsewhere.

Santana improved his stock more than any other impending free agent this season, going from quasi-salary dump by the Angels to throwing 211 innings with a 3.24 ERA. And both Santana and the Royals seem open to working out a new deal, although that might change once the bidding starts.

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.