There is a saying that many baseball writers quote to ensure not only their employment through the winter months, but usually a work related trip to a warm location in December: “There’s no offseason in baseball.”
It’s simple and it’s probably true, considering all of the transactions that occur between November and February, but to what degree are these words, when spoken by those who get paid to speculate on baseball, actually a self-fulfilling prophecy?
You see, as interested as we all are in learning what player is rumoured to be going where, there are more ulterior motives present in the sources for these stories than a family deciding over the legitimacy of a patriarch’s will.
There were many good examples of media manipulation just from this weekend.
First we have Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, who has long garnered the reputation as a megaphone for agent Scott Boras, tweeting that the Phillies are scrambling to sign Jayson Werth. Isn’t it interesting that whenever Heyman hears anything about a free agent, it’s not only more than likely a Boras client, it’s always something positive?
Then we have two GMs chatting with Ken Rosenthal about the Boston Red Sox bullpen and informing the reporter that Felix Doubront is available for a song. This is quickly refuted by Theo Epstein who wants all of Major League Baseball that Doubront is actually available for several songs and perhaps an entire album.
Never mind that the Red Sox just traded for the slow to develop Andrew Miller and acquired Taylor Buchholz off waivers. Don’t even think about whether that means that Boston is desperate for the type of talent that Doubront offers or that there’s no longer room for him on the roster. The takeaway is that someone, either the unnamed GMs or Epstein, is peppering Rosenthal with a porky.
Perhaps it’s just like Buster Olney who reported earlier about a couple GMs (the same mischief makers?) tipping the Blue Jays to win the Dan Uggla sweepstakes that may or may not be underway. I’m not suggesting that the Blue Jays wouldn’t be interested in Uggla, almost every team in the league should be, but Olney’s justification for making them a front runner to acquire his services are more ridiculous than a grown man being called Buster.
Alex Anthopoulos has been the Blue Jays’ general manager for about 14 months now, but already he has developed a reputation for targeting a certain type of position player: Somebody who hits the ball out of the park.
Huh? When exactly did that happen? When the Jays acquired John Buck, coming off back to back seasons of eight and nine home runs? Or when they traded for that master slugger Brandon Morrow? Or was it when they acquired Yunel Escobar, Fred Lewis and Anthony Gose during the season?
None, absolutely none of Alex Anthopoulos’ acquisitions would be classified as a home run hitter if they were playing in a beer league where the outfield fence was located ten feet past the infield . . . and they were allowed to hit off a tee.
As you delve further into Olney’s report, you’ll find that he’s basically just repeating the speculation of a couple GMs, which have no basis in anything other than opinion. Nothing has been heard from the Jays or Marlins front offices. No players have even been discussed. It’s all just speculation.
I’m not complaining. I get it. Speculation inspires a ton of conversation and therefore a ton of page views. I like talking about this stuff too, but let’s remember that for the next few months we should likely try to not go crazy over everything we hear, and take the rumblings you hear with a grain of salt.
It’s the baseball offseason way.