The Reds and Aroldis Chapman avoid arbitration

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Reds and closer Aroldis Chapman have settled on a one-year deal avoiding arbitration. His salary: $5 million, which is the midpoint between his asking price of $5.4 million and their offer $4.6 million.

And before you ask, yes, I realize that Chapman had a long-term deal with Cincinnati when he signed there. But under the terms of that deal, Chapman was eligible to convert the $3 million he was originally owed for 2014 into a bonus if he was eligible for arbitration. So the $3 million is now mere bonus with the $5 million as his salary, making him an $8 million man this year.

No word on whether that contract ever discussed converting him back into a starting pitcher, but I guess I lost that battle a couple of years ago.

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.