Open Thread: All-Free Agent Team

This morning Buster Olney posted “baseball’s 31st team,” a 24-man (?) squad containing nothing but players still available on the free agent market. Pete Abraham followed his lead with his own need-a-job All-Star team, and now I figured I’d throw my two cents in as well. Here she goes:

C: Gregg Zaun – the best of a bad lot, Zaun’s the only legit starting catcher option that posted an OBP north of .321 last year (he was at .340)
1B: Doug Mientkiewicz – I’ll take Minky’s avg offense and Gold Glove defense over Kevin Millar’s & Sean Casey’s mediocre bat/no glove offerings
2B: Orlando Hudson – no brainer, my specialty
SS: Orlando Cabrera – another avg bat/GG defense guy, he’s easily the best of a terrifying SS crop
3B: Joe Crede – not going to offer much OBP, but he might run into 25 homers … another stud glove guy
LF: Adam Dunn – it’s okay Adam, I love your perennial .900+ OPS
CF: Jacque Jones – might have a little offensive rebound in him, but more importantly I need a guy with a ton of range between these two corner OFers
RF: Bobby Abreu – what, were you expecting Brad Wilkerson?
DH: Manny Ramirez – no explanation needed

Rotation: Derek Lowe, Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets, Braden Looper, John Garland – with above average defense all-around the infield, give me the ground ball guys … and Ben Sheets

Bullpen: Juan Cruz, Aquilino Lopez, Brandon Lyon, Will Ohman, Brian Shouse, Russ Springer, Matt Wise – it’s a collection of above avg K guys who throw strikes for the most part

Bench: Pudge Rodriguez (C), Gape Kapler (OF), Damien Easley (IF/OF), Ty Wigginton (IF) – outside of Pudge, everyone on the bench can play multiple positions adequately and hit the ball out of the park … only problem is no lefty hitter

So what do you think? The lineup has a couple big boppers and for the most part they catch the ball, and the starting rotation will give me a ton of innings, enough that Sheets can be handled with care. The bullpen’s a crapshoot like always, and some guys on the bench could start for some teams. It’s weird, you can see that team winning anywhere from like, 70 games to 90 games.

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Titans are deadlocked at seven with the Ravens at home right now, and the Panthers kick off against the Cards at home at 8:15. The Rangers and Devils are in action (Devs are out on the west coast, so late start), as are the Knicks. Talk abotu whatever, just be nice.

Open Thread: Oh no he di’int!

“When you’re down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you’re down,” Pavano said. “I’ve had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years.”

Really? I mean … seriously?

I’m pretty sure Brian Cashman stood by this guy’s side all four years, constantly reminding everyone that all of his injuries were legit. Hell, he called him up this year when he could have just left him toiling away in the minors on a rehab assignment.

Give me a break Carl. When you stay healthy for two months, then you can think about running your mouth.

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Nets are in Milwaukee, the Rangers in Buffalo. MLB Network is showing highlights if the 1996 World Series starting at 8pm. Talk about that, or whatever else you like, just be nice.

Open Thread: That sounds freaking painful

After the saga of this off-season, most people know the story of Mark Teixeira. I’m not sure how accurate this part is, but apparently before the 1998 draft the Red Sox circulated some rumors about Tex, saying he wouldn’t sign. They then used their ninth-round pick to snatch him. Not pleased with how the team handled matters, Teixeira opted to attend Georgia Tech.

He thrived in college, winning the Dick Howser Trophy for baseball player of the year. Strange, though, that he won the award in 2001. Teixeira didn’t play much that year. I first read about this injury in an old copy of Men’s Health which, thanks to the Internet, is archived here:

In the sixth game of the season during his junior year at Georgia Tech, Mark Teixeira’s cleat got stuck in the turf as he chased a fly ball. The broken ankle that resulted required surgery and 3 months of rest.

Actually, according to Georgia Tech’s 2001 game logs, it was the seventh game of the season. That was in February. He didn’t return until May 11, but he did it with a bang: 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI. He played out the rest of the season as a DH before the Texas Rangers selected him with the fifth overall pick.

Teixeira on the injury:

“My whole right leg basically lost its muscle. I couldn’t walk, I felt lethargic, I gained 10 pounds. You go from being on top of the world one minute to not knowing if you’ll ever be the same the next.”

“I tried to keep the big picture in mind, and that was to be a big-league baseball player. So you have to mentally break through the pain, the fatigue, the frustration,” Teixeira says. “From the time I knew I had a chance to be a big leaguer as a teenager, my motto has been, ‘If someone is better than me, fine. But no one is going to outwork me.'”

According to the MH article, Tex recovered by implementing the following training regimen: “an hour of ankle-only rehab moves, 90 minutes of total-body conditioning, and batting and fielding sessions to get back into baseball shape.” Of course, it goes onto say that it took “almost two years to return to his pre-injury form.” Considering he OPS’d .995 between A+ and AA in 2002, I’d say that’s a bit of an overstatement — and that’s just one year.

You can discuss this, but you don’t have to because this is the open thread for the evening. I’m guessing you’re going to want to talk about Florida vs. Oklahoma. The Knicks are in Dallas, the Islanders are in Calgary, and the Devils have Atlanta at home.

Open Thread: It was 89 years ago yesterday…


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.


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.