Cardinals talking contract extension with Matt Carpenter

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Matt Carpenter had a breakout season in 2013, handling a position switch to second base just fine and hitting .318 while leading the league in hits (199), doubles (55), and runs scored (126).

Now this season he’s moving again, this time to third base, and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the 28-year-old is also talking to the Cardinals about a long-term contract extension.

Because he didn’t become a regular in the majors until age 26 he’s still making the minimum salary and Carpenter is under the Cardinals’ control through 2017, so for any extension to buy out his eventual free agency it would have to go for at least four years.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’ll be a six-year contract worth around $50 million.

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.