It’s apparently time to declare the Mets dead

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The Mets are off to their worst start ever and, no, it hasn’t been pretty.  But I am crazy to think that the multiple obituaries in this morning’s papers are premature?  Joel Sherman is calling for the fire sale. Tim Smith describes the apocalypse.

No, I don’t think it was reasonable to expect the Mets to challenge the Phillies this year, but I still believe that it’s a team that could play .500 ball or maybe a shade better if they get the breaks.  If that was the doomsayers’ expectation, they shouldn’t be declaring the Mets dead right now because while 5-12 is bad, it’s not the sort of start that forecloses an 80-85 win season. If, rather, they predicted better, such a prediction was unreasonable in the first place. But hey, it’s New York and the Mets have played awful baseball, so you have to expect this sort of thing.

It’s the next phase that interests me the most. The phase in which a general manager with a demonstrated track record of not panicking, not bowing to media pressure, understanding sample sizes and, most importantly, understanding the market for high priced, soon-to-be-free-agent veterans (i.e. low) resists the increasing calls for a fire sale.

Think that will play well in the tabloids and on talk radio?

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.