Loria: "I expect us to make the playoffs"

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Loria.jpgMarlins owner Jeff Loria has high expectations:

“How may wins am I expecting? I never predict but I will say we’re
working off an 87-win season last year and I expect us to make the
playoffs. Whatever it takes for us to make the playoffs is what we need
to win . . . They are well-positioned to make the playoffs. We have all the ammunition we need.”

It doesn’t take a tremendous leap of faith to imagine the Marlins making a run at the wild card. As Loria himself notes in the interview an extra win a month last year would have put them in. That’s baseball of course,* but Loria is right to think that the Marlins should be competitive.

But being competitive has only rarely been a problem for the Marlins. The real problem has been their parsimony. The real question being, if the Marlins find themselves in a close race , whether Loria will allow the team to take on a bit of payroll to put them over the top.

*See “one extra flair a week, just one. A gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes! You get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium.”

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.