Why the Dodgers' mystic energy man matters

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Rasputin.gifI got an email a few minutes ago that reflects a sentiment I’ve seen numerous times since the Dodgers’ Svengali story came out last night:

Do you ever write anything positive about
the
Dodgers? That’s the first place Dodgers. They are currently getting
terrific
pitching and playing solid baseball. I believe they have the best record
in
baseball for the past month and just swept the Cards. You are missing
some fun
baseball.

I get it: don’t beat up on the McCourts because the Dodgers have played good baseball for a couple of years. What’s a couple hundred thousand dollars to a quack if the team is winning?

I suppose that’s fair, but only to a point. And the point is this: the Dodgers have totally out-sized revenue streams compared to their divisional rivals in San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado and Arizona.  Imagine how big their lead would be — year-in, year-out — if those resources were channeled into smart baseball decisions instead of energy-channeling physicists and the never ending parade of extravagance we’ve heard about since the McCourt divorce kicked off.

The Dodgers do OK. But if the McCourts wanted to focus on running a tight baseball ship instead of entertaining fantasies of NFL stadiums in the parking lot, buying soccer teams and pursing whatever whim their copious amounts of money and apparent lack of sense sets them upon, they could be the West Coast Yankees, dominating the division. 

Jonny Venters is still pitching

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
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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.