Ichiro traded for magic beans!
Ichiro to New York! Griffey to Seattle! Cuban vampire baby pitcher throws 104mph escapes to Costa Rica, Yankees interested!
It’s baseball off-season time. We’ve already seen a huge amount of hysteria around a dumb New York Post rumor that Ichiro’s available, in particular, so I wanted to offer this:
– writers have to write about something
– front offices are trying to work deals
– front offices use the writers
This is important to remember. Let’s say your team wants to pick up Player A. You might spread rumors he’s looking to get out, wants to play for a contender, whatever, and that the team’s thinking about trading him.
Then you let the rumor mill churn for a bit, and you call up the other team and say “I read you might be shopping Player A. What would you want for him?”
Some teams are hoooooooooooooooooorrrible about this. Both New York teams, with the city’s massive media, are the worst. Some random under-assistant to the guy who stocks the vending machines thinks they should go get Felix Hernandez, and bam! It’s in the tabloids: “A Yankee front office source confirmed the team is interested in trading for Mariner pitching prospect Felix…”
If you follow baseball for long enough, you’ll get a feel for what other teams do this, and for that matter, what other teams use the media for (character assasination, for instance, rather than rumor-mongering).
And think about sourcing. Baseball’s a small game, and information gets around, but “an NL scout” knows as much about what Bavasi & Co. are talking about as you or me: zippo.
Which is to say, there are a couple questions you should ask when you come across these rumors:
– Does this rumor make any sense?
– Reading the rest of the article, is it well-written and thought-out (do it have a bunch of players going to teams that don’t need them, for instance)?
– Is the writer known and generally dependable?
– Is the paper known for good coverage or sensationalism?
Larry Stone or Morosi writing that the team’s considering whether they should try to move Ichiro is worth something.
The NY Post writing that Ichiro wants to go to New York because he wants to win a World Series is worth *nothing*.
A random internet site filled with half-crazy trade speculation (Delgado traded to Arizona in a 12-player, eight-team trade that sends Jamie Moyer to the moon!) is worth nothing.
Don’t waste your time on worthless rumors. Don’t waste other people’s time on worthless rumors. Thanks.