Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How Do You Want It?

In the unending quest to stay on top of the Hot Stove (though not literally) and to attempt to wade through the conjecture, fiction, and outright fabrications that have littered the Rumor Mill, I ran across this report on SI.com from Jon Heyman (it’s with the 1:59 header) that the Yankees have shown interest in Orlando Hudson...just not as a 2B.

The story goes that the Yankees are looking at Hudson to perhaps move to CF or to add Hudson with the idea that they can move Robinson Cano via trade. Reading it, I could feel myself growing increasingly frustrated with each passing sentence. And I don’t think that it’s because I think that Hudson would be a nice fit in the Indians’ infield and this report sounded like the Evil Empire swooping down and opening their wallet to make a move that sounds like nothing more than a Fantasy Baseball idea - “wait…can I put Hudson at CF?”.
No, that isn’t what sticks in my craw on this.

Nor is it the whole idea that Hudson probably isn’t going to the Mets because of the $18M owed to Luis Castillo over the next three years…but the Yankees (who owe Cano $25M over the next three years with a $14M option in 2012 and a $15M in 2013, with $2M buyouts for either option year) can somehow simply add a player and play him out of position or can find a taker for Cano and his contract.

You know why it doesn’t really bother me?
Because I don’t think that the Yankees are interested in Hudson and I don’t think that this “report” has much more behind it than some Yankees’ employee throwing this out for an reporter. But that’s what disturbs me about this – in that this “report” likely is nothing more than pure conjecture, but becomes front page news on SI.com.

What bothers me about is that the Hot Stove has seemingly evolved into reporting everything about the Yankees and Red Sox and maybe a few other big market teams, assuming that one of those teams will get all of the players in FA, and imagining reporters perusing the rosters of the teams they think of as the feeder systems for the Axis of Evil and create news on them. It takes no insight and less legwork to guess that the top FA are going to end up in NY or LA or to simply throw a “report” like this out there.
CC? Probably a Yankee, right?
Teixeira? Can the Red Sox get him?
Isn’t that all we’ve been reading about, despite the fact that EVERY team sent their Front Office to the GM meetings?

Certainly a reason for this obsession with reporting everything that happens with these select “glamour” teams certainly comes from the amount of interest that each presumably has nationally – but is there more?

Do you remember the days leading up to the Coco Crisp deal to the Red Sox?
Remember how EVERY report came out of Boston and the Indians’ Front Office was reportedly upset about the amount of information that was being leaked to the press concerning the discussions?

There’s something to be said about having “sources” as a reporter, but the amount of information that is leaked about the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers borders on the absurd where it feels like even the average fan knows what discussions are taking place in the Front Offices of those respective teams. Compare that to how the Indians leak NOTHING to the local press and seem to live by one simple word – “deny”. When was the last time the Plain Dealer or the Beacon-Journal “broke” a story or forced the Indians’ collective hand on rumors or hearsay? Since they got the story on the CC deal from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blog, that one doesn’t count.

Perhaps that’s where I’m going on all of this – as an Indians’ fan, how do you prefer this Hot Stove Season to unfold in terms of the dissipation of information? With fond memories of my days in High School, before my musical tastes of 2Pac and EPMD were replaced by STP and PJ, I ask, “How Do You Want It”?

Is it better to hear EVERY little rumor and piece of conjecture, regardless of whether there is a kernel of truth behind it, and beat that conjecture to death or is it better to simply sit back and throw things up against the wall ourselves and wait for that “unexpected” press conference or news from another town that something really has broke?

Truthfully, it’s probably somewhere between hearing everything that is discussed in a Front Office to the situation with the Indians. But that doesn’t mean that the fan base can’t take one of these stories and run with it. Certainly the Mark Teahen situation laid out how much one little report can send the InterWebs weaving and how much everyone can learn about a player they should know very little about in a hurry. But did anyone really enjoy that? Is it better to know about a deal before it takes place to dissect it or to actually wait for a deal to go down before the hand-wringing and wailing begins?

Obviously, the lack of insight from the local media (or perhaps what is made available to them) makes that decision for us as the sidebars that appear in the papers usually don’t include much more than things that anyone who knows how to browse the Yahoo MLB Rumors page or MLB Truth and Rumors page already know.

In lieu of that insight or any kind of inside source, we’ll have to be content with perusing those pages to find some sequence of reports that leads us to that revelation that a trade is forthcoming. Until that happens, though, we’ll have to go back to the “Refresh” button…whether we want it that way or not.


G'son said...

There is sooooo little credible information that comes out about the Indians during the hot stove portion of the baseball year, that just about any information is welcomed, accurate or not. The mere speculation of a potential change or trade or interest in a player stokes the baseball fires. Sure, Cleveland is a football town and LeBron and the Bronettes are a competitive, exciting and potentiall championship team.. but nothing is as interesting as when Indians fans get to hear the crack of the mitt as the ball hits the pocket in the spring (this year, in Goodyear, Arizona. The return to the desert southwest is a great move for the Indians, but is off topic..).

Look at the latest insight from Paul Hoynes at the Plain Dealer:

"The Indians show interest in bringing back Casey Blake !!"

I mean.. it's about the Indians so that's good.. but it's a story that could have been presented four months ago.. nothing there is "untrue".. but, hardly earth shattering news. An argument can be made that this "breaking story" could have been written by the author from his house...never having left those 'friendly confines' to actually talk to any of the principles (Casey Blake, his agent, anyone from the Indians front office, etc). IMHO, Paul Hoynes is the worst kind of hack, a johnny-come-to-the-news-always-lately who provides enough wiggle room to deny any and every comment he makes.. while maintaining his journalistic integrity, read ability to criticize any and every move, thought and transaction for the purpose of being 'first' to describe the impending doom.

Example: Has anyone seen Hoynes' article about the kid the Indians traded Brandon Phillips for?. (we've all seen the continuing stories about what a boneheaded move it was to trade Brandon Phillips) Has Hoynes reported or informed the Tribe faithful about Steven's successes in the minors, his participation in international baseball venues representing the USA? You won't get that from Hoynes. That would require actual investigative reporting, relationships with appropriate sources, etc..

In summary, the level of information, insight and knowledge of this one newspaper town begs for alternate sources.. even from the, eeeehhhhggghhhhaaad !!!!!! blogosphere world.

What say you?

Cy Slapnicka said...

I heard a trade is in the works that would send Hafner with Frank the Tank's shoulder surgically attached, Shoppach, and the September 2008 Ryan Garko for Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, and Shane Victoriano.


Paul Cousineau said...

Couldn't agree more with you on the PD's "coverage" of the Hot Stove League. I debated about including the link to the Blake piece, but found myself piling on when it's just not worth my time.

I will say that today's piece - about relievers - absolutely groundbreaking stuff.
I mean, I know he's writing for a dumbed-down audience, but there's nothing that has come through the PD for two days now that isn't something that wasn't known before the Indians season ended a month ago.

By the way, Jeff Stevens (the Phillips PTBNL) was on the radio show last week with some interesting comments. The link is in last Thursday's post, if you have some time to kill.

Welcome to the party, by the way.
Off to mine through the rumors...