Jonathan Papelbon would accept a trade to a contender in a heartbeat

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Some players on the Phillies are cagey about being willing to waive no-trade protection to go to another team. Jonathan Papelbon is a lot of things, but cagey is not one of them. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com asked him if he’d waive his limited no-trade clause to go to a contender. Papelbon’s response: hells yeah!

Papelbon was incredulous that a player would not want to move from a losing team to a contending team.

“What?” he said.

“Some guys want to stay on a losing team?” he said.

“That’s mind-boggling to me,” he said.

So if a contender called, you’re ready to go?

“Yeah,” Papelbon said with an are-you-kidding-me laugh. “I think that’s a no-brainer.”

He did note that he would have mixed feelings about it all as he likes his teammates and thinks (correctly) that the Phillies’ pen has really come together of late. But make no mistake, he wants to be in the playoffs and would gladly accept a trade to be there.

I think anyone in this situation is entitled to whatever thoughts they have on it. If Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley say they wouldn’t go or Papelbon says he would, well, those are their feelings. Notably, these conversations always come up when there aren’t actual trades on the table and the question put to the players is merely hypothetical. Lost in it all, usually, is that the players have earned the right to make this choice, either through longevity or negotiation, so we can’t really begrudge them for whatever their choices on the matter happen to be.

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.