Steinbrenner: business savvy even in death

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Say what you want about George Steinbrenner, but he was a hell of a businessman. From turning a tiny initial investment in the Yankees into a billion-dollar franchise, to starting his own regional sports network, rarely did the man make a business mistake.  The pattern continued even until his death:

By dying in 2010, the billionaire and long-time
New York Yankees owner’s wealth avoids the federal estate tax, likely
saving his heirs enough money to field an entire team of Alex
Rodriguezes.

Steinbrenner’s
death Tuesday came during an unplanned year-long gap in the estate tax,
the first since it was enacted in 1916. Political wrangling has
stalemated efforts in Congress to replace the tax that expired in 2009.

Because no one really knows his estate plan or the extent of his holdings, it’s hard to tell how much money he saved by going in 2010, but the back-of-the-envelope calculations in the linked article figure that, at a minumum, Big Stein’s heirs have saved $300 million+ by him passing in 2010 instead of 2009 or 2011.

Suggestion: whatever big free agent the Yankees sign this winter be given the nickname “tax break” or “death tax” or something like that.

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.