Kendrys Morales a fit for the Royals?

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Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio suggests free agent 1B/DH Kendrys Morales would be a good fit for the Royals. The market for Morales is fairly quiet right now as he is tied to draft pick compensation and doesn’t offer much aside from his ability to hit.

However, Duquette also suggests that signing Morales would give the Royals the flexibility to trade current DH Billy Butler for starting pitching. The Blue Jays were interested in acquiring Butler last month and could still be a potential suitor if such a situation were to come up.

Morales has been fairly consistent between 2012 and 2013, posting a .787 and .785 OPS, respectively. No one questions his ability to hit, but his value is dragged down by having to be a DH full-time, or otherwise having to play defense at first base poorly. If the Royals were to sign Morales, they would relinquish their first-round pick in the 2014 draft, the 18th overall pick.

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.