For most of his eight-year minor league career Pat Venditte has been viewed as a novelty, because he throws both right-handed and left-handed as a rare switch-pitcher.
However, lost in the intrigue is that Venditte has actually been a really effective reliever in the minors, posting a 2.37 ERA with 464 strikeouts in 418 career innings. That includes a 1.36 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33 innings at Triple-A for the A’s this season and now Oakland has decided to give him a shot in the big leagues.
Venditte is 29 years old, so expectations should be held in check, but fans should be rooting for him to stick in the majors and have some success if only for a chance to actually watch him pitch.
In today’s column for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, according to a rival executive. Doing so would allow the Phillies to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and open up a spot in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper, with whom the Phillies have been commonly connected.
Santana, 32, is coming off of a mediocre season in which he hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 679 plate appearances. His 1.7 WAR, per Baseball Reference, was his lowest output since 2015. He has $35 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies would presumably eat a significant portion of that $35 million in order to make a trade work.
If the Phillies can’t move Santana but still end up signing Harper, Santana could share third base with Maikel Franco and first with Hoskins. Right now, the Phillies have a glut of outfielders with Hoskins, Odúbel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Hoskins rated among the worst outfielders defensively in 2018, so moving him back to first base is likely one of the Phillies’ bigger priorities.