Despite the fact that much of their collective brain trust will be leading different organizations in 2015, the Tampa Bay Rays remain a team on the hunt for high upside, low risk bargains. Their most recent foray into the bargain bin sees them signing former Atlanta Braves relief ace Jonny Venters. It was announced this morning that the Rays have signed the right-handed reliever to a two-year minor league deal.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 11, 2015
Venters will be 30 next week and has not pitched in the Majors the past two seasons. His first Tommy John came in 2005 while he was still in the minors. He most recently went under the knife last September. Venters is determined to give baseball another go, despite the fact that he is probably running short on spare ligaments should another Tommy John be required.
It is unlikely Venters will pitch at the Major League level this season as well, as he is not expected to begin throwing off the mound until late in the summer. The signing presents very little risk to the Rays, and if Venters is able to return to the form he flashed in 2010 and 2011, the Rays will have quite a steal. Venters took a circuitous path to the Majors, but upon his arrival, became one of the National League’s best relief pitchers, posting a 1.89 ERA and just under 10.0 K/9 before regressing in 2012 as his arm troubles began.
Hopefully, for Venters’ sake, the third time is the charm, and he can return to the form he flashed with the Braves.