Open Thread: 42 for 42

Yankees sign lefty Juan Cedeno
CBA Madness: Even more draft changes
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Mariano Rivera was a bit of a late bloomer. He didn’t make his big league debut until he was 25 years and five months old, the same age Phil Hughes is right now. Rivera’s first full year in the show came during his age 26 season, his first of a dozen (and counting) All-Star appearances came during his age 27 season, and he didn’t close out his first World Series game until he was a few weeks shy of his 29th birthday. That seems like such a long time ago, and it is. Nearly a decade-and-a-half.

Today is Mariano’s birthday, his 42nd. Number 42 for number 42. He’s still as good as ever, a god among men in baseball’s most volatile position. This past season he claimed the all-time saves record, but it wasn’t much more than a blip on the radar. Everyone knew Rivera was the greatest closer of all-time long before that, he didn’t need some silly record to make it official. The 2012 season might be Mo’s last, we don’t know, but part of me is convinced that he could close out games until he’s 50. I hope he does.

After you’re done wishing Mo a happy birthday, use this as your open thread for the night. Both the Islanders and Rangers are playing tonight, so there’s that. Talk about whatever you like, have at it.

Yankees sign lefty Juan Cedeno
CBA Madness: Even more draft changes
  • Greg

    So, Royals signing Jonathan Broxton. Thoughts?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Maybe he’ll fetch them a nice return in July. Maybe he won’t.

    • RetroRob

      If he comes back, that either allows them to trade either Soria or Broxton for players that can continue to help them rebuild.

      • MannyGeee

        is it really rebuilding when you have been doing since George Brett retired?

    • YankeesJunkie

      Good upside sign considering the weakness of the AL Central and and Broxton’s shown ceiling.

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Sox will now overpay for Madson or Bell. heheheheheh.

  • Dick Gozinya

    I was at that game in Arizona when Mo got an AB. Wiggled out of a bases loaded no out jam too. Epic.

  • T-Dubs
    • Delaware – Ralph

      Very nice! I remember having that as a background for a while.

      Do you who created a similar picture when Andy retired that said “Thanks for the Memories” and then had 4 pictures of him, one in the windup, one holding the trophy another in the windup and him tipping his cap? Loved that one.

  • Charles

    Good move, lets them have a backup if Soria implodes or if they want him in the rotation, plus if he has a monster 1st half they can flip him at the deadline and get a good return.

  • Mike MzX

    Nice call with the (rare) photo of Mariano Batting. Would be nice if the Yankees give him an inning in Center field in some blowout game this next season, he’s said he always wanted to play at CF. Happy Birthday to the legend.

  • BigDavey88

    I and all of us here are well aware that Mariano has been the greatest closer of all time for a while now, but him breaking that record was still a big deal for the following reason:

    Anyone that claimed Trevor Hoffman was the best ever because he “had the most saves” has nothing to back up their beliefs now.

    Well that’s my stupid mini-rant.

    • vin

      Those people are worth debating anyway.

      • BigDavey88


    • Mike MzX

      Even Trevor Hoffman stated that Mariano was the greatest closer of all time, while Hoffman still had the record by a deep margin.

      Someone said it best recently, “while saves may be overrated, Mo isn’t.”

      Not to say Hoffman wasn’t a great either, he certainly was and should be in the HOF. But Mo’s saves, ERA, dominance and post-season absurdity makes him even larger than a great. He’s up there with Ruth and Gehrig, Cy Young and Walter Johnson. He’s a god of the game, a name that will live on as long as the game is played.

      • thenamestsam

        I cannot see Hoffman in the HoF at all. He’s not even close for me. The guy has about 30 WAR for his entire career, and while WAR may understate the value of dominant relievers because it doesn’t include leverage, Hoffman’s problem is that he really never was a dominant reliever. He was pretty good for a long time, but a career ERA+ of 141 as a 1 inning reliever shouldn’t get you anywhere near the hall. It’s a high bar for relievers in my book and he’s not even really approaching it.

        • Mike MzX

          He’ll get to the HOF, simply for being the first man to 600 saves, but he wont be a 1st ballot. The other metrics wont fit into it for him. Even though personally, I can think of many more deserving players that will never make it.

    • Tom Zig

      That’s now been replaced with

      “Well if Hoffman was on the Yankees he’d have 800 saves”

      • Mike MzX

        Yeah sure, because we all know that NL west relievers become legends in the AL East.

        • vin

          Personally, I’ll never forget Jay Witasick. I just can’t seem to get him out of my mind.

      • bankers hours

        That is a ridiculous comment, 800 saves please, Hoffman would have fried as a Yankee and in the AL East. He’s a choker. He never could get big outs in the biggest games. He blew huge games when the playoffs were on the line, All Star games, and in the World Series got lit up by the Yanks. He was a small market over achiever and no Hall of Famer.

  • Soriano Is A Liar

    Looks like Bobby V to the Sox is finally happening. Time to start writing Red Sox 2012 World Series predictions.

    • Mike MzX

      Good for the Red Sox, maybe Bobby Valentine can dust of his disguise for their next choke :)

    • JohnnyC

      Eric Ortiz is polishing up the re-write at this very moment.

      • BigDavey88


      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…


    • bankers hours

      Can’t stand Valentine so I’ll be able to continue rooting against him in Boston as a huge Yankee fan. I never understood all the rage over Valentine. He’s arrogant, hasn’t managed in the bigs in 9 years, and is a lifetime 500 manager. What’s all the fuss.

      • Dino Velvet

        sportswriters love him because he gives them alot of access.

  • Play Da’rel Scott Now

    We need more lemon pledge

    • JohnnyC

      That worked out really well.

  • Ivan

    Happy Birthday to God himself…Thanks peace to God.

  • CS Yankee

    Happy Birthday, Mo.

    I hope you stay another three years and end with 700+ saves…or another 10 years and end with a 1,000+. Regardless, you have played on a different level than any other closer.

  • Mike MzX

    I kinda wish Pujols and Fielder would sign somewhere already, getting tired of hearing endless speculation on the hot stove.

    Also wish Yu Darvish would either Post or announce he’s not.

    • Mattchu12

      Pujols to STL, Fielder to CHC or SEA, and Darvish will be posted.

      • Mike MzX

        I think the Mets would be smart to abandon the hunt to get back Reyes and throw the kitchen sink at Pujols. That club could use a classy and respected free agent acquisition to help right their ship (like Piazza did for them in the 90s). But I do agree that Pujols will probably remain in STL. Fielder would be a good fit in either Seattle or Chicago.

        I hope Darvish is posted, and I hope the Yankees win the bid. I think this guy is one that will finally pay off in the bigs, and when you consider the luxury tax, he’s a more affordable choice than CJ Wilson, whose thus far been a chump in October.

        • bankers hours

          Puljos wants no part of the meaningless Mets, you’ve got to be kidding.

        • Mattchu12

          Can’t see Pujols leaving after they just won the World Series, he’d ruin his reputation for going someplace else for more money without a “I am here for a chance to win” excuse.

          I think if Theo wants to make a splash, Fielder is in Chicago next year. If not, the Mariners will actually have some muscle to back Felix and Pineda.

          Agreed on hoping the Yankees win the bid on him. I really like CJ Wilson, but I don’t see him as anything more than a 3-4 guy. I’d rather go after Darvish and make a deal for Danks, wouldn’t cry a tear if we Derek Lowe’d Burnett either.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Phil Hughes, future closer?

    • Mike MzX

      David Robertson, Future closer (assuming he continues performing as terrific as he was in 2011). Hoping Phil gets his arm straight this off season and returns to being a dominant starter.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        When was he a dominant starter?

        • Mike MzX

          19 game winner in 2010, that’s fairly dominant in my book. He wasn’t Sabathia dominant, but good enough.

          • Soriano Is A Liar

            And legitimately dominant for the first half, even if his win total was inflated (I distinctly remember laughing with my friends as hughes sniped his 18th win in relief on like, the second to last day of the season). But you can’t take that first half away from him, that was basically what everyone always hoped he could be.

            • Mike MzX

              Yeah and I still believe he has the potential to be that again. He showed some serious brilliance in that first half, and it didn’t seem like a fluke. Whatever the issue has been since, hopefully he can overcome it. It would be a waste if he ends up as a reliever. Unlike Joba, who probably should have always been a reliever from the start.

              • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                Oh god no please. I…just…can’t.

    • BigDavey88

      Maybe. Still have to consider Joba and Soriano too, assuming Mo does retire after the season. Once Armageddon does begin when Mo hangs it up, we’re in a good position where we have a few guys who could step in and be an “effective” closer.*

      *NOTE: I’m aware of the whole volatile reliever thing and realize that whoever does become the closer in the future, we will have to deal with what every other team has dealt with the passed 15-odd years and have “closers”.

      • Soriano Is A Liar

        Plus the fact that relievers so volatile is precisely why it’s good to have so many viable options, even if someone like Joba doesn’t seem to be the guy right now. You never know who will step up and who will , so it’s great to have a big pool of guys to choose from.

        • Mike MzX

          Joba actually did look like that guy once upon a time. Before the infamous “Joba rules” and ensuing debacle. But before his injury, it looked like Joba was settling in nicely as a 7th inning guy. Who knows, he may return to previous dominance once he returns from his injury, you never know with Tommy John.

          • Ed

            The Joba Rules originate from when Joba was dominating in the bullpen. They weren’t created to baby Joba or anything like that. They were created because Joe Torre killed relievers, and Cashman didn’t want his top pitching prospect destroyed by Torre’s habit of using relievers as much as possible until their arm fell off.

      • Mike MzX

        That’s most true. The pro is the Yankees have no shortage of potential in-house candidates. But the con is no one will be Mo, and the hardest job in baseball will be the first reliever to take the ball in the 9th who isn’t Mo.

        Right now, I think that man is Robertson… but that’s today and anything could happen by the time Mo eventually retires. We may get fortunate and Mo might be with us for many more years, no way to tell.

  • Carl

    May you have better vocal chords and two more years in pinstripes after 2012, Mo. Happy Birthday you closing legend.

  •!/getcarter2517 getcarter2517

    I don’t have any posters, but if I did, this Mo Nike poster would be it:

  • RetroRob

    The Bobby Valentine move will add even more media hype around the Yankee and Red Sox games.

    • Mike MzX

      Yeah, because Bobby V did such a great job managing against the Yankees in the past.

      (No offense to Bobby V, he was a good manager, but the Mets could have probably have made that a 6 or 7 game series in 2000 if he didn’t make some critical mistakes in managing the bullpen that series). Yankees would have still won, but we did win a couple on Met failings more than Yankee dominance that series.

      • BigDavey88

        I’m still surprised that 2000 Mets roster even made it to the world series. Kudos to BV for that at least.

        • Mike MzX

          Well in the defense of the 2000 Mets, Piazza and Alfonso had terrific seasons, both batting well over 300 and producing over 200 RBI’s together. Those two guys alone helped that club dominate the much weaker NL East effectively. Also Al Leiter had a quite good season, and was strong in his World series starts despite both games being loses. (Game 5 especially was lost by Valentine leaving Leiter in too late into the game with too many pitches under his belt).

          I just watched the Subway Series again a few months ago and I noticed two things. The Yankees weren’t the force they were in 98 or 99 that series, and at least 2 of the wins were thanks to bad bullpen management and Mets errors.

          Had that bullpen been managed better, and that team had not been as sloppy defensively they could have made a better show of it. That 2000 Yankee team wasn’t 98 or 99.

          • mbonzo

            Yankees still had a good team in 2000, but I still think the Mets were better.

      • Mike MzX

        And personally, while I think this was a good move for them. I don’t think Boston is going to be a serious threat to anyone for a while. This collapse last year, even with the changes is still gonna reverberate for a while to come. They still have that idiot Jon Lester, the lost Papelbum, and I highly doubt Bobby V will be able to not only get that club back on track and into serious contention the same year. Especially in a division where the Red Sox now have 2 rivals in both the Yankees and more recently they’ve build a fiery rivalry with the Tampa Bay Rays, which is almost as heated as ours.

        This season coming up, the big guns in the AL East will be the Yankees and Tampa. Bostons gonna need a season to exorcise the demons of 2011.

        • bankers hours

          I hate Boston but do not underestimate them. I think Boston goes as Beckett goes and hope he’s on the slide. That said they can still hit. Pedroia, Youkalis, Ellsbury, A Gon, Fatso, and no way Crawford is as bad as last year. Praying they don’t sign Reyes.

        • uhhhh

          Paps is gone, dude. Come out from under the rock youve been under.

      • Dino Velvet

        I don’t think he was a good manger. 15 years in the show and only 1 playoff

  • Monteroisdinero

    God 42

    Jesus 22


  • S

    Happy Birthday to the best ever

    Also, I know this should be about celebrating Mo, but I was watching two different scouting videos of Dellin Betances. One was filmed during the 2010 season when his control was outstanding, the other filmed this past July.

    I’m not a scout, but Dellin had made a very obvious and significant change in his delivery. In the 2010 video, his stride is noticeably shorter than his stride in 2011.

    I know that having a longer strides adds deception to a pitch because the ball is released closer to the plate, but the longer stride seems to be causing Betances to collapse on his back leg rather than his driving leg therefor causing the ball to stay up in the zone.

    I would love to hear everyone’s opinion on this theory, do you think its plausible?

    • MannyGeee

      definately plausible… changes in delivery can cause hell on your control (or fix it, AJ…)

  • crossfire

    Here is a link to a desktop sized photo of Mo from the 2009 WS.

    I did a little photoshopping to it and created a color on black and white effect.

    Hope you like it.

    • Mike MzX

      Great Job!

  • crossfire

    And Happy Birthday to the greatest closer ever. Thanks for being a class act on your way to becoming an immortal!

  • Mantle28

    Happy birthday to the greatest closer of all-time!

    I’m pretty bored, so I have a couple super-hypotheticals for anyone who cares to answer:

    who do you think would get the most money on the open market right now and how much(excluding albert pujols)

    I think Kershaw, Miguel Cabrera and Verlander could push $200 Million on the open market.

    How much would an in his prime Babe Ruth make on the open market?

    We all know the need for pitching but, which Position Players would you trade Montero straight up for?

    obvious ones like Miggy, Longoria, Tulo(you make room), but some younger guys like Mike Stanton or even Bryce Harper

    If you were a free agent for some reason and both the Yankees and Red Sox offer you contracts,

    Yankees offer- 5 years $50 Million Red Sox Offer: 6 Years 75$Million

    which do you choose?

    and remember I said SUPER-HYPOTHETICALS

    • Mike MzX

      The only position player I would trade Montero for is Longoria. Except for his 2009 Postseason, i’ve never liked or wanted A-Rod. Longoria is a terrific 3rd baseman with an excellent bat, and while not as young as Montero still young enough to have much of his career ahead of him. Montero has a great bat, but his defensive capabilites are still a question.

      Babe Ruth in today’s market, in his prime… take A-Rod’s contract and double it, and unlike A-Rod’s it be a cost worth paying throughout.

      As far as your free agent question, there’s no choice… 50 million for the Yankees, no question about it. You gotta go where your heart is, like Cliff Lee did when he took the lower offer for Philly and left a nice chunk of cash on the table.

      As far as who would command the highest money on the market right now, for position players I think that has to be Pujols in any situation, this guy has numbers that could make him the greatest first baseman of all time, even ahead of Gehrig.

      Pitchers I would say Verlander, King Felix, Sabathia and Lincecum.

  • GT Yankee

    Mo=God End of story

    Happy Birthday to the person who is the best by perhaps the largest margin at his position ever.

    • bankers hours

      Great comment and exactly right. The rarity of Rivera is that rarely do you get absolute excellence and hold it over a long period of time. Seventeen years with no let up in a pressure packed position, in a pressure packed city, and an over achiever if that’s even possible in the post season when most closers fall apart. Will go down as one of the greatest pitchers of all time and obviously the greatest closer ever. We’ll never ever see the likes of him again, never.

  • forensic

    For those of you interested in such things, today (the 29th) is also the 35th anniversary of the Yankees signing Reggie Jackson to a 5-year deal worth under $3 million TOTAL.