Report: Mutual interest between the Tigers and Joe Nathan

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The Tigers passed on Rafael Soriano last winter and decided to go in-house at closer, eventually settling on Joaquin Benoit, but they are prepared to look to free agency to fill the role this offseason.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that “mutual interest” has developed between the Tigers and Joe Nathan. After declining his $9.5 million option with the Rangers earlier this month, Nathan is said to have the Tigers “high on his wish list.”

Nathan turns 39 later this month, but he’s back to near-vintage form after his Tommy John surgery in 2010, posting a 2.09 ERA over the past two seasons while going 80-for-86 in save chances. He stands a good chance to receive the multi-year contract he’s looking for, with Detroit as an obvious fit.

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.