Fred Wilpon on his money problems: “it’s all in the rear-view mirror”

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Fred Wilpon showed up at spring training today and said that his financial problems are over:

“It’s all in the rear-view mirror… The family is in great shape. The family really is in great shape. Sometimes luck is the residue of design … There’s no one in my family — there’s the Katz family, the Wilpon family, kids — [that now] has any personal bank debt. Zero. Everything has been paid. We don’t owe a dollar to anybody … “That’s what made us tight. We were still getting revenues. Lots of revenues. But those revenues were going to pay off debt. That’s done.”

Wilpon said that starting next year that the payroll will go up and Sandy Alderson can chase free agents “if prudent.”

You’d like to believe Wilpon here if you’re a Mets fan. But this is also the guy who, when all of the Madoff stuff began, said that it wouldn’t impact the Mets or the on-the-field product. It certainly has.

So put up or shut up, Fred. That’s the only way you’re going to win back the Mets fans your ownership of the team has alienated.

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.