The A’s have their new lease and have hired an architect for a possible Oakland ballpark

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After very contentious proceedings to get the A’s a new 10-year lease for the Coliseum, the new agreement was finally ratified on Wednesday. At the ratification, Lew Wolff showed up and revealed something which may — may — signal the A’s are going to stay in Oakland long-term:

A’s co-owner Lew Wolff celebrated the final ratification of a 10-year lease extension by shaking hands with local officials and revealing that he has approached an architect to work on designs for a new ballpark adjacent to O.co Coliseum . . .The lease deal requires Wolff to enter “good faith” discussions about building a new ballpark in Oakland. After several years of trying to move the team south — first to Fremont and then to San Jose — Wolff has indicated that he is seriously giving Oakland a second look.

Obviously there are tons of issues here, but there is now more time to work through it. And, possibly, a willingness by Wolff to do so in Oakland. Or, at the very least, a realization that he doesn’t have any clear way to get the A’s to another, more desirable city.

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.