“Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?
Will you still love me tomorrow?”
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they had signed veteran outfielder Will Venable. I don’t know much about him other than he played for the San Diego Padres, so I decided to look into the newest Dodger player.
Will Venable comes from a family of athletes. His father is Max Venable, who played outfield and was a designated hitter for four different major league teams from 1979-1987. His brother is Winston Venable, who played in both the NFL and Canadian Football League. Will thought himself more of a basketball player than a baseball player, and he attended Princeton University to pursue his basketball career. His father did make him visit Scott Bradley, the Princeton baseball coach, during his recruiting visit. During his sophomore season he joined the baseball team. He hit .344 in his junior season and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 15th round. Will decided to return to school, and posted a .385 batting average his senior season. He was drafted by the Padres in the seventh round. He graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in Anthropology.
Venable rose quickly though the Padres’ minor league system. In 2006, he was named their minor league player of the year. He was called up to the majors on August 29, 2008 due to an injury to Scott Hairston. He tripled in his first at bat, and hit his first homer on September 4th. As I am one for useless bits of information, I like this tidbit- on September 28th, he faced Ross Ohlendorf of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it was the first time that a Princeton batter had faced a Princeton pitcher in major league history. He started 2009 with the Padres Triple-A affiliate Portland Beavers, but was recalled on June 3rd. He stayed in the majors until a slow start in 2011 sent him to the Tuscon Padres. Will was recalled on June 9th of that year.
In August 2013, he won his first Player of the Week award. He also was awarded the Padres Most Valuable Player by the local media and was the 8th in Padres history to have at least 20 home runs and 20 steals in a season. He signed a two-year extension near the end of the season. 2014, however, saw his all time low in stats, and when the Padres signed Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers that offseason, Venable became a bench player. In August 2015, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. On February 28, 2016 he signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians, and was subsequently released in late March. The next day he signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and opted out of that deal on June 11th. On June 14th he signed a one year deal with the Dodgers.
Venable joins the team to be used as a platoon outfielder. At 33 years of age, he has the versatility to play all outfield positions, and would be the only left-handed hitting player available off the bench. Vin Scully added to the random information this evening, telling us that Venable uses Dave Roberts’ old glove, as Will was attributing his errors to the one he was using. He looks a little bit like Roberts, too. Additional useless information-Venable has come one hit shy of the cycle five times. He also has some speed, stealing 16 bases in 17 attempts last year. In short, a decent, low cost acquisition that fills a role that the Dodgers need at this moment. Time will tell if we still love the move tomorrow.