Report: Rangers offer seven-year deal to Shin-Soo Choo

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That seven-year offer to Shin-Soo Choo we heard about earlier? Well, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has the scoop on where it came from:

According to a source, the Rangers have a seven-year offer on the table to free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and he is giving it serious consideration. The offer is less than the $153 million deal that Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees this off-season but is still strong enough for Choo to consider.

The Rangers had a two-hour meeting with Chin prior to the Winter Meetings and gave him a strong sales pitch about coming to Texas. Choo turned down a six-year offer from the Rangers, according to the source. But now it appears the Rangers have gone seven years and could have a good chance to sign him at possibly around $130 million.

That’s not quite the eight-year offer he is reportedly seeking, but unless the Mariners are somehow willing to blow everybody out of the water like they did with Robinson Cano last week, this might be the best he can do.

The best free agent left on the market, Choo batted .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 154 games with the Reds this past season. The 31-year-old owns a .389 career on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears that the Rangers and agent Scott Boras are having “ongoing conversations” regarding Choo, but that reports of a seven-year deal on the table are inaccurate. As with most of these reports, it’s hard to know what to believe, but we’ll continue to track it.

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.