December 26, a date to remember

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ruth.JPGAs MLB.com’s Mark Newman points out, today — Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009 — marks the 90th anniversary of the Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. 

The infamous deal lost some of its luster once the Red Sox snapped the supposed “curse” it brought upon the franchise with their sweep of the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series, but it’s an important day in baseball history nonetheless.  In fact, as Newman points out, it’s an important day in world history:

The Ruth sale happened on Dec. 26, 1919.

The FM radio was patented on Dec. 26, 1933.

The United Soviet Socialist Republic was formally
dissolved on Dec. 26, 1991.

Two disasters have occurred on Dec. 26: the Indian Ocean
tsunami in 2004 and a Taiwan earthquake in 2006.

Mao Zedong was born on Dec. 26, 1893.

The Pilgrims landed at what became New Plymouth on Dec. 26, 1690,

And on Dec. 26, 1776, the British lost the Battle of Trenton after General George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River.

Cursed or not, it’s a day of much importance.  And to us baseball fans, it doesn’t get much more important than the Big Bambino.  The “Sultan of Swat” had a .342/.474/.690 career batting line over 22 professional seasons.  He hit 714 home runs and tallied 2217 runs batted in.  We celebrate a lot this time of year — the holidays, a new year, good food — and yet it always seems relevant to celebrate the game’s ultimate icon.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.