Astros, Jerome Williams finalize one-year, $2.1M deal

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It was reported Monday that the Astros had agreed to a contract with free agent right-hander Jerome Williams and now the deal has been made official. Via Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish:

Williams will be a frontrunner for a rotation spot this spring in Astros camp. He was non-tendered by the Angels in December after posting a 4.57 ERA and 1.39 WHIP across 169 1/3 innings in 2013.

The 32-year-old owns a 4.35 career ERA and 1.35 career WHIP in 776 1/3 major league frames.

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.