Braves to DFA Venters and Pena

The Braves wills save some money by letting Jonny Venters and Ramiro Pena go as they've been designated for assignment.

The Braves will designate reliever Jonny Venters and infielder Ramiro Pena for assignment.

The team will also add the following players to the 40-man major league roster: pitchers Tyrell Jenkins, Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Cunniff, Yean Carlos Gil and Williams Perez, along with infielders Jose Peraza and Kyle Kubitza.

Venters just had the third Tommy John surgery of his career in September. The lefty reliever had a remarkable three-year run in the Atlanta bullpen. He posted a 2.23 ERA in 230 games, with only 175 hits allowed in 229.2 innings, 110 walks and 258 strikeouts.

Venters made $1.625 million last season while on the disabled list. He would have earned somewhere in that same neighborhood next season through arbitration had he been retained. The Braves will likely monitor his progress through his recovery and possibly add him back on a minor league deal if there are signs he will pitch again.

Pena spent the last two seasons with the Braves. He hit .245 in 2014 with three home runs and nine RBI. In 2013, Pena hit .278 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He would have made close to $1 million through arbitration if he had stayed with the organization.

Jenkins was acquired Monday from the Cardinals in the Jason Heyward trade. He will likely be in Double-A Mississippi to start the 2015 season. Most believe he is at least two years away from the big leagues.

Cabrera has one of the best arms in the Atlanta organization, but he battled arm issues last year that limited him to only 33 innings. The Braves will likely send Cabrera back to High-A to start next season.

Cunniff pitched in 42 games last season between Lynchburg and Mississippi. The 26-year-old had a 1.58 ERA, with 44 hits allowed in 68.1 innings, 27 walks and 71 strikeouts. The Braves signed Cunniff out of the Frontier League in 2013. He was originally drafted by the Marlins in 2010. Cunniff could be a bullpen option next season in Atlanta.

Gil is a 23-year-old lefty who made 22 starts in Low-A Rome last season. He was 7-6 with a 3.35 ERA, 117 hits allowed in 126.1 innings, 26 walks and 93 strikeouts. Gil will likely be in either Carolina (High-A) or Double-A Mississippi next season.

Perez is one of the under-the-radar prospects in the Atlanta system. He was 7-6 last season in Mississippi, with a 2.91 ERA, 119 hits in 133 innings, 39 walks and 94 strikeouts. Perez is 23. He'll battle for a job in Triple-A Gwinnett, but don't be shocked if Perez starts the season in Mississippi.

Peraza is expected to take over as the Atlanta second baseman at some point in the 2015 season. He hit .339 with two home runs, 44 RBI and 60 stolen bases between Lynchburg and Mississippi last season. The Braves may start him out at Gwinnett before giving him a promotion to the big leagues.

Kubitza hit .295 and had an OBP of .405 in Mississippi last season. In his four-year pro career, Kubitza has a .381 on base percentage. He has only 30 home runs in those seasons, but he has shown solid offensive skills.


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