Your first “Cliff Lee wasn’t cut out for New York” article of the day

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It’s one thing for Cliff Lee to decide that he’s not cut out for New York. Or for him to think that he’s simply better-cut-out for someplace else.  It’s another thing altogether for people who don’t know a thing about the guy to assume they know that. Guys like George Vecsey of the New York Times:

The Yankees, who had dreamed of throwing C. C. Sabathia and Lee as twin aces, always expect to get their man. Big Bronx bucks are almost always enough to bring anybody to the Bronx. Some of them thrive — Mark Teixeira, Sabathia, Hideki Matsui, David Cone,Paul O’Neill, and even Alex Rodriguez, in his diva way. But there is a whole history of players who have not thrived in New York, for one reason or another: Johnson, Brown, Pavano. It’s not for everybody. And presumably not for Cliff Lee from Arkansas.

Or, as we noted this morning, maybe Lee thinks he’s so awesome that he’s willing to gamble the greater guaranteed dollars the Yankees offered him for the chance at the greater money the Phillies will pay him if his 2016 option vests.  Maybe New York was too timid for him.

In all seriousness though, it seems inevitable that certain Yankees fans and certain New York writers will rush to make what is a baseball personnel matter into a referendum on the player’s guts or character. To make it the presumption that New York is where everyone wants to be and, if it doesn’t work out that way, it was the player’s issues, not their own.  I can’t express to you how grating I find that to be.

I’m not predisposed to like giant cities. I was also once offered a job in New York. My decision not to take the job had nothing to do with my taste for giant cities and everything to do with the money and the employer and the job and all of that. If it was a close call, yeah, then lifestyle and stuff would have been important, but it didn’t get that far.  A lot of people are like that, I imagine.

Some people would simply rather play for the Philadelphia Phillies, ya know?

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.