One of the longest-simmering rumors of the summer has been Marlon Byrd to the Mariners. Not hottest-simmering, mind you. It’s just Marlon Byrd. But ever since people started getting excited about the Mariners contending and getting excited about the Phillies stinking again, people have assumed that a Byrd-to-Seattle deal was gonna go down.
There aren’t many exciting bats on the market. And that’s true even if you stretch your definition of “exciting” to include Byrd. Maybe Alex Rios. Maybe Josh Willingham. But as of now, it looks like the Marlins don’t have a lot going on to upgrade the offense.
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.