The contract is reported by MLB.com to be worth $8.5 million. split evenly through 2014 and '15. Venable would have been arbitration eligible each season. Venable, 30, is making $2.675 million in 2013, and is one of the few Padres earning his keep.
Venable, 30, is currently hitting .273 (109-for-400) with a career-high 20 home runs in 129 games. He has 18 doubles, seven triples, 49 RBI, 55 runs scored and 15 stolen bases while playing both right and center field this season. His .510 slugging percentage leads all National League outfielder (min. 120 games in the outfield) and is second to the Angels’ Mike Trout (.588) among all MLB outfielders.
An outstanding all-around athlete (he played basketball at Princeton) of great promise when he arrived on the scene in 2008, Venable has shown glimpses but has never hit consistently until this season. His July and August production are what convinced the Padres to extend his contract: In August, Venable hit .370 with eight home runs. He is also fielding at what Padres management considers a Gold Glove level.
He is currently one of five players in baseball with at least 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases, joining the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, the Nationals’ Ian Desmond and the Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano.
Venable's breakout couldn't have come at a better time, because outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin were recently shut down for the season, and the Padres have gotten very little out of last year's breakout player, third baseman Chase Headley. (Quentin was scheduled Tuesday to have a third surgery in the past 18 months on his right knee; Maybin was trying to return from a knee injury but it was not responding well in minor league games.)
The Padres, who are battling the Giants to stay out of the National League West cellar, now have to hope Venable's strong second half is not a mirage.
The Padres' seventh-round selection in the 2005 draft, Venable is a career .257 hitter with 87 doubles, 33 triples, 65 home runs, 237 RBI, 280 runs and 101 stolen bases in 652 games since his debut in 2008. Venable is the son of former big leaguer Max Venable.
As a regular player for the Padres, Venable has never batted higher than last year's .264. His previous high in home runs was 13 in 2010. He had dipped to .219 when he began his current surge in July.