UPDATE: Looks like the deal is done: two years with the Tigers, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith. The details are unknown.
9AM: Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Tigers are the frontrunners for Rajai Davis. Since, according to Smith, Davis is expected to sign quickly, it would appear that he’s crossing the Ambassador Bridge and heading for Motown.
Davis hit .260/.312/.375 with 45 stolen bases in 331 AB for the Blue Jays last season. Which is sort of what you can always expect from him. If the Tigers want him you’d hope it’s as a fourth outfielder/pinch runner type, but given that they have Andy Dirks in left field at the moment, who knows.
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.