One reason to wish the Yankees were still in the playoffs

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Like a lot of red-blooded Americans, I’m happy the Yankees got beat in the first round. Viva variety and all of that. Let Fox and TBS fixate on some other teams for a change.

But a side effect of that is that a bunch of New York reporters now have nothing to do except to come up with silly trade and free agent ideas, and I’m just not ready for that kind of thing until at least mid-November.

The latest: John Harper of the Daily News playing the “it would never happen but what if the Yankees signed Prince Fielder” game:

Or would the Yankees be better off paying huge money for Fielder, whose lefthanded swing just might produce 50 home runs a year with the help of Yankee Stadium, and using Jesus Montero to trade for pitching? I know, I know, I advocated for keeping Montero in my look-ahead column a few days ago, and I do think the Yankees should find out what he can do for them. But the point is, you can’t rule out the possibility that Fielder could wind up a Yankee, slotting in between Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez as a full-time DH.

I suppose anyone could end up a Yankee.  I just don’t see Bud Selig hammering through a rule change that would allow that team to have multiple first basemen and designated hitters play every game for the next six or seven years.

Oh well. Hot stove season is coming. It’s never too early to start girding yourself against the loony stuff we’re going to encounter over the winter.

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.