Cubs, Travis Wood avoid arbitration

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Left-hander Travis Wood and the Cubs have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.9 million deal, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.

Wood was a big bright spot for the Cubs last season, throwing 200 innings with a 3.11 ERA after coming into the year with a 4.22 ERA in 365 innings through age 25.

Around midseason Wood talked about wanting to sign a long-term deal to remain in Chicago, but the Cubs might be hesitant to buy high on a mid-rotation starter and they already control him through 2016 anyway.

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.