How to fix the New York Mets

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Howard Megdal has been fancifully campaigning to be the Mets next general manager for some time now. The campaign hit a few bumps in the road when the Mets were, you know, winning baseball games.  That’s all fixed now, so ESPN.com has given him an open mike to state his case.  It’s long, but Mets fans in particular will find it worth reading.  Best part: Howard doesn’t just talk about player moves, but how best to lift up fans’ spirits too and to make being a Mets fan in a city that has turned into the Yankees’ playground such a depressing experience.

My only criticism: the name “Wilpon” is mentioned only once, and that’s in praise at the family’s historic willingness to spend money.  I think there’s ample evidence to suggest, however, that if Howard were somehow “elected” the Mets’ next general manager, he’d be undermined just as much as Omar Minaya has been over the past couple of years.

To be fair, though, I think Howard is starting from a much higher baseline of competence, so he’d likely improve the team even if he were undermined.

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.