Pat Venditte Oakland Athletics signed contract
I don't know about you, but I'd say this news about Pat Venditte is the best of the off-season so far:
The ambidextrous pitcher, a Yankees farmhand since 2008, on Wednesday signed a minor-league contract with the Oakland A's with an invite to spring training.
Venditte, who chooses which arm he throws with depending on the hitter, made it as high as Triple-A with the Yankees as recently as last summer, but he never got the phone call that every minor-leaguer dreams of.
A free agent this offseason for the first time in his career, Venditte said he was looking for an organization that would give him a spring training invite, something he never had in six preseasons with the Yankees. And while he knows the odds are against him breaking camp with the A's, he believes he is one step closer to the majors.
Some of you might remember that I’ve been beating the Venditte drum for a while. A long while. I don’t believe I ever argued that Venditte belonged in the major leagues. But it’s been clear for a long time that Brian Cashman didn’t consider Venditte a prospect, at all. So why, I thought, deprive the rest of us? Why not release Venditte, just in case some other club did see some actual potential there?
The answer, I think, is simple: If the Yankees had simply released Venditte and he’d pitched well in the majors for another club, the Yankees would have been embarrassed.
Did I say simple? I should have said simplistic, because if the simple answer were strictly correct, some team would have traded for Venditte a long time ago. And there was a hiccup in 2013, when he spent a chunk of time recovering from a shoulder injury, and not switch-pitching. I still don’t think I’m far off, though.
Venditte did pitch quite well in the higher minors last season, and the Yankees did use a couple of dozen other relief pitchers in the majors. So it’s good to see him finally get a shot with another organization. He might never reach the majors. But I have approximately zero doubt that, considering how many relief pitchers do reach the majors these days, Venditte would hardly be the worst of them.