Open Thread: It was 89 years ago yesterday…

the-babe

Yesterday marked the 89th anniversary of the Yanks’ acquisition of George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Red Sox, perhaps the single biggest player transaction in baseball history. All told, the Bombers sent Sox owner Harry Frazee $125,000 in cash, as well as three annual payments of $25,000 at 6% interest in exchange for Ruth. The Yanks also loaned Frazee $300,000, accepting the mortgage to Fenway Park as collateral.

Fresh off a recording setting 29 homerun season in his final year with the Sawx, Ruth became the Sultan of Swat as we know him immediately after the trade, clubbing 113 homers in his first two years in pinstripes. The team went from a 701-780 (.473) record in the ten years preceeding Ruth’s acquisition to a 924-670 (.580) record in the ten years following the pickup. Ruth finished his career with a .342-.474-.690 batting line, a 207 OPS+, 714 homers, 2,217 RBI, 1330-2062 K/BB ratio, a .518 wOBP, and seven World Titles. He’s easily the greatest player in baseball history based on how he performed in comparison with the rest of the players in his era.

Thanks Harry. (h/t UWS)

Here’s your open thread for the night. The Rangers take on Montreal at home, the Knicks are off, the Isles are off, and the Devils suck. Talk about whatever else is on your mind, just be nice.

Open Thread: Catching up on some Yankee rumors

Yankees Teixeira Baseball

Now, that guy looks pretty good in pinstripes, eh? As the Yanks welcomed their newest addition today, let’s catch up on some rumors.

  • Bobby Abreu is still looking for a three-year, $48-million offer, and I’m looking for a rainbow with a leprechaun and a pot of gold at the end of it. Neither of us are going to find what we’re looking for, and Jerry Crasnick says that no one is really interested in Abreu.
  • Ken Rosenthal reports that Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher are “drawing significant interest.” Joe will have more on this for the overnight tonight, but to sum up my thinking, the Yanks don’t really need to trade anyone right now. Unless they are blown away by an offer, they are far better off holding Swisher and Nady than they are trading them right now.
  • In the same piece, Rosenthal drops in a tidbit about Brian Fuentes. Apparently, Fuentes’ agent tried to pitch the closer to the Yanks as a possible set-up man and future heir to Mariano Rivera‘s throne. The Yanks weren’t interested in paying Fuentes closer money and never made an offer. While some folks in the Mark Teixeira press conference liveblog believed that this news shows that the Yanks are nervous about the 8th inning, I completely disagree. They weren’t keen on bringing in Fuentes, and it seems as though the closer’s agent just wanted the Yankees in on the negotiations. Nothing to see there really.

Anyway, use this as your open thread for the night. Anything goes. Just play nice.

Update by Mike (7:04pm): The Yanks signed outfielder John Rodriguez to a minor league deal. The Bombers originally signed J-Rod as an international free agent back undrafted free agent out of an NY area high school back in ’96 for $1,000. He has a 110 OPS+ in 332 big league at-bats, which came for the Cardinals back in ’05 & ’06.

Open Thread: A busy day

Baseball execs returned from their holiday vacations today, and did so with a bang. There was a lot of news and we had quite a bit of content today, so let’s  review:

  • Mark Teixeira‘s press conference is tomorrow at 1pm, and will be held in the Old Stadium. Between YES, MLB Network and ESPN’s family of networks, I’m sure this one will be on TV. One of us will liveblog it.
  • Ben tackled the issue of parity in baseball.
  • Pat the Bat joined the Rays for the bargain price of $16M over 2 years, and Milton Bradley agreed to a 3yr, $30M deal with the Cubbies. The Burrell signing is an outstanding one for Tampa, Bradley … not so much. I just can’t see how you can expect him to play the field every day for the next three years and remain healthy.
  • Jason Giambi appears to be heading back to Oaktown. Giambi hit .260-.404-.521 with 207 homers during his seven years in pinstripes, and I will stand and applaud him when he returns to the Bronx as a visitor.
  • Twins’ owner Carl Pohlad passed away.
  • One time great Yankee Nick Green signed with the Sox. I’m sure everyone remembers “The Nick Green Game.”
  • Ex-Yank Luis Vizcaino is on the verge of joining his sixth team in six seasons.
  • December was the greatest month in RAB history.

Busy day, so talk about all of it here. The Fiesta Bowl (Ohio St. vs Texas) is on FOX at 8pm, and the Rangers will be taking on Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins at home tonight. Dave’s back from his vacation, so check out what a real hockey blogger looks like at Blueseat Blogs. You know the drill, anything goes, just play nice.

Open Thread: Tex announcement coming soon

Links to the NY Post & Daily News on same day? Ewww. This little nugget of news is post worthy however, and comes from Anthony McCarron (h/t Brooklyn Ed):

The Yankees are making plans for a press conference to fete new first baseman Mark Teixeira, perhaps as early as Tuesday, according to baseball sources.

(snip)

The holidays pushed back any announcement – the Yankee offices have been closed since Christmas and are slated to reopen Monday. Multiple team bigwigs, including GM Brian Cashman and co-owner Hal Steinbrenner, have been on vacation. The Teixeira press conference could take place at the old Yankee Stadium.

Tex still has to take and pass a physical first, and that could be accomplished Monday. Once the deal is official, the only pieces of the offseason puzzle left are Andy Pettitte and/or another back-end arm, and maybe a bench player or two. Forty days until pitchers and catchers baby …

Use this as your open thread for the evening. The Ravens already took down The Fightin’ Penningtons this afternoon, while the Iggles and Vikes are locked in a back-and-forth affair. The Knickerbockers are taking on Bahston at home, and 24: Redemption is rerunning on FOX. Is it just me, or do the major Bowl games seem really late this year? Oh, and make sure you check me out at Blueseat Blogs. Dave will be back from vacation soon, so my days covering for him are numbered, but make sure you peep it anyway. He’s a way better hockey blogger than I’ll ever be.

You know the deal, talk about whatever, just be nice about it.

Open Thread: It was 36 years ago today…

Few Yankee fans realize it, but Jan. 3 is actually a rather significant day in Yankee history. It was on this day in 1973 that a syndicate headed by George M. Steinbrenner III paid a meager sum of $10 million to the Columbia Broadcasting System for the New York Yankees.

In today’s dollars, the Yankees cost Steinbrenner and his group around $47,843,468.47 or what Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter make an a season. That price was, according to The Times article about the sale, a real steal, and CBS took a loss on their investment. “It’s the best buy in sports today,” Steinbrenner said about the Yanks. “I think it’s a bargain. But they [CBS] feel the chemistry is right. They feel they haven’t taken a loss on the team.”

While Steinbrenner bought the team after it a decade of losing seasons and its first sub-one million attendance season since World War II, he has, as we all know, turned the franchise into the premier team in sports with six World Series championships over the last 36 years, a new stadium and a run of attendance topping the four million mark. Needless to say, the team is worth far more than $47 million today.

Meanwhile, the best part of the article announcing the sale is the final quote from Steinbrenner. “We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned,” he said. “We’re not going to pretend we’re something we aren’t. I’ll stick to building ships.”

Truer words are often spoken.

Anyway, use this thread as your evening open thread. We’ve got two NFL playoff games today, and the Nets, Rangers and Islanders are all in action. Just play nice.

The photo above is of Yogi, George and Billy Martin in 1976 and comes via The Daily News.

Open Thread: Ranking the remaining free agents

Jon Heyman has quite the history of pumping out poorly constructed lists. Back in May he took a stab at ranking the twenty greatest free agent signings in history, which was embarrassingly bad not because someone not named Barry Bonds circa 1993 topped the list, or even because he ranked a lefty reliever ninteenth, but because he omitted Randy Johnson’s original deal with the Diamondbacks in 1999 entirely. Four year contract, 81 wins, 1030 IP, 1417 K, four Cy Youngs. Yet Hideki Okajima was a better signing.

Today, Heyman took a crack at another list, this time ranking the twenty best remaining free agents. Topping the list is Manny Ramirez, who’s followed by Derek Lowe and Adam Dunn. Oh wait, no it’s not. Heyman ranked … wait for it … Bobby Abreu the best remaining free agent, followed by Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell. Three DH’s top the list. Orlando Cabrera and Joe Crede come in at numbers four and five, respectively, just ahead of Dunn. Derek Lowe? He’s tenth, sandwiched between Orlando Hudson and Oliver Perez. Manny? Try thirteenth, between Andy Pettitte and Ben Sheets. Yeah.

So how would you rank the remaining free agents? I’d go Manny-Lowe-Dunn for my top 3, but after that I’m not sure. I’d guess Bradley, Burrell and Orlando Hudson would make sense as the next three. Abreu and Mr. Strikeout Juan Cruz would probably round out the top eight.

Anyway here’s your open thread for the night. Utah & Alabama battle it out in the Sugar Bowl tonight at 8pm, and the Knicks take on the Pacers at home. The Rangers are off, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out Blueseat Blogs, where I’m covering for Dave while he enjoys a little holiday vacation. Oh, Hot Stove Live on the MLB Network starts at 7. You know the deal though, play nice.

Site Note: I was working on my Preseason Top 30 Prospects List earlier, and accidently hit “publish” instead of “save,” so it was up on the site for a second. I took it down right away, but all of you RSS subscribers got it anyway. It’s just a first draft, and I’m going to revise & reorder it about a dozen times between now and when I post it in Spring Training, so don’t put too much stock into it. Otherwise enjoy the sneak preview.

Update (7:05pm): Barry Larkin just said Orlando Hudson is a guy that “could steal you 40 bases.” O-Dog has 42 steals total in 865 career games. Swing and miss on that one, but I’m still enjoying the network.

Open Thread: Saying sayonara to 2008

As 2008 draws to a close, let’s ring in the New Year and this open thread with a look at RAB’s top ten posts of 2008. After the list, use this thread as a general open thread. Have a safe and happy New Year. We’ll see you tomorrow in 2009.

1. Watch the nine-minute Venditte fiasco
Everyone loves a sideshow, and apparently everyone loves ambidextrous pitchers facing switch hitters as well.

2. Inside the new Yankee Stadium
In March, the Yanks unveiled some fairly detailed renderings of the steakhouse, martini bar and premium seating suites inside the new Yankee Stadium. We went for a digital tour.

3. The Free Agent Starter Debate: Sheets vs Burnett
A few weeks before the Yankees signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year deal, we decided that Ben Sheets would be the safer bet. Sheets, by the way, is still unsigned and is the subject of few rumors these days.

4. ESPN: Yanks acquire Swisher
In early November, long before the Yanks decided they needed to acquire everyone this off-season, they made the first splash of the Hot Stove League by trading for Nick Swisher. We had all the news.

5. Yanks seemingly rule out Sheets
The Yankees ruled out Ben Sheets. This, apparently, was our fifth most popular post of 2008, and it almost qualifies as anti-news. Who knew?

6. What about Swish?
One week before the Yanks went out and landed themselves Nick Swisher (see number 4, above), Mike urged Brian Cashman to do just that. We could be the Yanks’ GM.

8. Game 112: Hot hot hot
The only game thread to make this list just happened to be the one in which Joba Chamberlain left his start against the Rangers with a shoulder injury. Over the last two seasons, the Yanks have lost Joba, Phil Hughes and Chien Ming Wang to injuries while playing in the great state of Texas. Coincidence? I think not.

9. What would happen if the Yankees didn’t bring back Derek Jeter?
For better or worse, the fate of Derek Jeter will continue to be a hot topic of conversation over the next two seasons.

10. Where’s CC?
Four different reporters had CC Sabathia in four different locations over one weekend in November. We got a good laugh out of that one.