March 3, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jonny Venters (39) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex, Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Bring Back Jonny Venters

Feb 27, 2013; Lakeland, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jonny Venters (39) against the Detroit Tigers during the a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves made their first move after the big move of stadiums was announced.  Relief pitcher Jonny Venters will continue to wear the red, white and blue of the Braves.  Venters avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.625 million contract.

In 2013, Venters made the same amount of money ($1.625 million) in his first year of salary arbitration.  But never saw the field as he was shut down in spring training.  He underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in May and is aiming to be fully recovered by June 2014.  This was his second Tommy John surgery to the same elbow.  Not many have made a successful comeback after TJ surgery and now Venters will try to pitch at the highest level after two.

Jonny broke onto the stage in 2010 at the age of 25-years-old with a 1.95 ERA 93 K’s and a WHIP of 1.205 in 79 game appearances.  Then in 2011, he backed those numbers up with 85 games 1.84 ERA 96 K’s a WHIP of 1.091 and a 6-2 record with five saves.  He made his first All Star game in 2011.

The left-hander owns a career 2.23 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across three seasons.  Since he has an injury history, the reliever was a non-tender candidate, but Atlanta decided to bring him back in hopes that he can make a full recovery.

“I’m pumped to be sticking around,” Venters said via text message to Mark Bowman.



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  • Matthew Jones

    Seems to be a good bit of change for a guy who might only pitch a little this season. Might be interesting.

  • fireboss

    JV was arb eligible so it was either nontender him or pay him. The most they could have cut his pay was 20% under the CBA or 325K. While it may be many years salary for us that cut is miniscule in terms of MLB payrolls. The left handed relief pitching market is full of the expensive and the inconsistent, all of whom would have cost more than JV’s extension. He projects a June return and if able to be 80% of his former self will be well worth the cost. Everyone on the list of FA lefty reliever except Boone Logan and EOF are 31 or older ad good ones 2will want multiple years. This is a low risk high reward option and I’m sure – okay Im not sure but I hope – the Braves talked to the medics and reviewed his progress before making the offer..

    EOF isn’t likely to be back until after the ASG but I’d favor a minor league offer with bonuses to keep him in the fold. Like Brian Wilson however I expect him to hold out and sign once he’s completely healthy with a club in the race and in need of a lefty. That could be the Braves of course but then Wilson could have signed back withe the Giants. My worst nightmare is EOF in Nationals bullpen,

    • Jeff Schafer

      True, I do think Bowman reported he was hoping to be back in April or May though

      • fireboss

        He may be hoping to for that but Beachy was hoping to be back too. Yesterday’s article said that April/May would be minor league stuff and Braves didn’t expect him earlier than June. His slider will be the hardest on his elbow and if he’s smart he’ll talk to Meds and become a sinker curve change guy. until the elbow is healthy. That slider is so hard on the elbow it could short circuit his comeback if used too early. He needs to understand that and not resort to it the first time things don’t go right

        • Chris Headrick

          Yes, and let’s not forget, unless my memory is cloudy – JV is a 2 TJ guy, and so there are even more looming questions about the elbow health, especially if the return is earlier than it should be.

          • carpengui

            Bingo. This was his 2nd TJ. And in my cold, dark, clinically-viewed mind, this is a strong factor as to why I would have non-tendered him… aside from the notion of spending $1.6+m for half a season at most… agreeing w/Matt’s earlier comment.

          • fireboss

            Honestly in this market that’s chump change and I actually prefer this risk to a Kameron Loe kind of signing.

          • Chris Headrick

            Yeah, my TJ comment shouldn’t have been construed to imply I think it was a bad risk. It is a risk, but most everything is these days. I just don’t want to see JV rushed back. I think his struggles before his TJ were TJ related, and he needs to be healthy to be all he can be for the Braves.

          • carpengui

            My risk assessment it that I gotta think it will require more time to recover… at least more time to be sure, since this is the second go-round.

            Fred – you’re right… though I guess the threshold for Atlanta is somewhere between Venters’ number and EOF’s (though EOF being a free agent means that he’s in the bad position of having to actually be ready to roll before he’ll get a new contract).

          • fireboss

            I think July-August will be better outings than June. Venters signing was as much to hold onto the option of owning his rights into 2016 than expecting big things this year. As much as everyone ignores EOF’s issues he does have them. The Braves got him because the Mariners tried to sneak him through waivers due to had a bad year resulting from a severe back injury. That injury resurfaced at least twice that I recall. That’s not to negate his potential effectiveness but it does add a consideration to any offer. A free agent who may not pitch at all this year is a different than an arb eligible pitcher who may or may not pitch this year but probably will next.

          • Sealift67

            Worth the risk re cost ratio. JV is young enough to
            make this investment modest by today’s standards.
            Don’t know the outcome stats but seems to me
            more pitchers have been coming back after TJ
            than years past.
            Also Buchter the big lefty will get a long look in ST.
            His issue has been control yet he has had runs
            of good SO-BB ratio at times.

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