Max Scherzer open to extension, but won’t negotiate during season

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There’s been lots of speculation about the Tigers trading Max Scherzer before he hits free agency next offseason and he recently avoided arbitration by signing for $15.25 million in his final season of eligibility.

Today the reigning Cy Young winner told Jason Beck of MLB.com that he’s open to a contract extension with the Tigers and “hopes they can get something done by spring training.” Scherzer even called himself “optimistic” about reaching an agreement, but also added that he will not negotiate once the season begins.

Assuming that he stays healthy before hitting the open market at age 30 it’s hard to imagine Scherzer not approaching $150 million and it’s almost as hard to imagine agent Scott Boras not pushing him to at least test free agency even if he wants to remain in Detroit.

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.