Report: Red Sox agree to one-year deal with A.J. Pierzynski

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $8.25 million.

8:57 a.m. ET: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that Pierzysnki will get a one-year deal. He’ll essentially function as a stopgap option with the Red Sox, as prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart aren’t too far away from the big leagues.

8:23 a.m. ET: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Terms aren’t yet known.

We heard last night that the Red Sox were “unlikely” to keep Jarrod Saltalamacchia, which was a strong hint that they were moving in another direction at the catcher position. Pierzynski was the best alternative available in the free agent market. And while we don’t know the specifics of the contract yet, the Red Sox probably won’t have to commit as many years to him as they would with the younger Saltalamacchia, who now appears likely to land with the Twins or Marlins.

Pierzynski, who turns 37 later this month, batted .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI over 134 games this past season with the Rangers. He’ll share catching duties with David Ross in Boston.

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.