- The story so narrow only one outlet is openly reporting it as fact:
According to the Denver Post’s Troy E. Renck (the name sounds like a nom de plume, but apparently it’s a real guy) the San Francisco Giants are “quietly making an aggressive run at Manny Ramirez”. What that means is anyone’s guess, but it should be a red flag that this story is coming from a writer for the Denver Post instead of a San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York outlet.
That the story was reported this morning and no one’s picked it up as having any validity make it look like it’s: A) a plant from the Scott Boras camp in response to the Dodgers planting the “contacting Adam Dunn” stuff a couple of days ago; B) something completely fabricated; C) a great bit of reporting by this Troy E. Renck person or he’s trying to get people (like the gullible me) to print his name and garner him some attention for a story that has no basis in fact; or D) all of the above.
Of course Manny makes sense for the Giants, but are they going to spend the money that it’s going to take to get him? We’re talking about between $20-25 million a year for probably three years; that’s a lot of money for a team with a lot of stadium debt to pay off and a limited payroll. If the Giants were able to get Manny for a year or a year with an option based on performance, I’d say they’re a pretty good bet to make the playoffs and it’d be a worthwhile thing to do, but for three years? Maybe not. I don’t think there’s much, if any, truth to this “story”. How it got out and why is a more interesting tale in the long run, if that’s ever divulged. (I wouldn’t hold my breath.)
- How deeply are reporters in bed with management, agents and players?
This Manny thing got me to thinking about how agents, management types and players use reporters to get their feelings conveyed or to create bidding wars where they didn’t really exist and the reporters receive the quid pro quo benefit of getting some brief national attention. I think back to Moneyball when Billy Beane was in the midst of making one of his deals and refused to take any and all calls from reporters other than Peter Gammons because Gammons was so dialed in then (he’s more of a columnist/reporter emeritus at this point) that he was quite possibly going to tell Beane something he didn’t already know.
The prevalence of this practice is so extensive that it’s hard to tell who’s giving the real deal information; who’s intentionally writing things that they know are extremely unlikely to be true; or are suspending disbelief to write what they’ve heard for the dual benefit of getting further information from the “source” or trying to get their names in the national spotlight.
I suppose this has been going on forever, but there comes a point where the true reporters who come up with nuggets that wind up being true—-Ken Rosenthal; Jon Heyman—-are being devalued because of the rabble that makes things up or are having things planted with a purpose in mind rather than it being genuine reporting. In today’s media—-where there’s the internet, cable TV, all-sports talk radio and even a channel dedicated to the MLB itself—-there’s going to be such a rush to get the stories out first, that it’s going to cause a number of things to get into the media that have no basis whatsoever in fact.
How many guys are dialed in enough that they have access to the agents, team management and players to get the truth from all sides? I’d say not many. Those that are passed off as “experts” generally tend to be anything but. I still remember after the Roger Clemens congressional debacle, how Seth Everett (SNY’s “baseball insider”—-hold on a minute, I have to go get a barf bag)….
…Okay. I’m back. Everett went on about how former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette may have been “vindicated” by the Clemens PED allegations and how Duquette was “fired by the Red Sox after 1997″ when Duquette was actually there until after the 2001 season—-Prince Of New York blog 12/14/2007—-blah, blah blah; Everett clearly didn’t have any idea what he was talking about and was just regurgitating things he heard (or read) and was passing it off as “inside” information and analysis in order to bolster his flagging credentials. (Haven’t seen much of him since as a matter of fact, on SNY anyway.)
This happens a lot and diminishes not only the effort many of us take to keep track of what’s happening, but wastes our time and energy since we’re the ones who are stupid enough to believe it and then, in the case of some mental patients (see Lebowitz, Paul), write about it to drag things out even more.
- More on the connections between writers and executives:
This isn’t going to degenerate into another one of my rants of the arrogant cluelessness of Paul DePodesta, but it helps with the argument to note how many of the stat geeks who have invested much of their lives in the use of statistics and “objective” analysis above all else in building teams still have the thoughtless audacity to defend DePodesta after he presided over the destruction of a good Dodgers team and then went to the Padres and helped trash that place as well.
nbsp; DePodesta has done nothing to warrant receiving another chance as a GM, but he still has those that say with thinly veiled hopefulness that he may eventually get another shot. (I’m still so stunned by his backers that I can’t help but say loudly to no one in particular whenever another one pops up, “How are you defending this guy?” I’ve yet to get an answer.) Maybe, after doing the penance of being an assistant for ten years or so, being successful and losing his condescending pomposity, he might get another chance, but now? No way if the owner considering it has a brain in his head. This brings me to a former GM who receives universal scorn and ridicule for his tenure despite having pretty good overall success in most aspects, former Mets GM and now ESPN analyst Steve Phillips.
Yes, Phillips made some bad trades as the Mets GM; yes, he was in charge of the club as they made the ill-advised decisions to acquire the likes of a shot Roberto Alomar, the bloated Mo Vaughn, and the one-dimensional Jeromy Burnitz; and yes, he spoke in corporate catchphrases and circles without ever answering a question directly (much as Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein do now); but Phillips was also the club’s GM when they were at the height of their powers as the second best team in the National League in the late 90s and early 2000s. He made some very smart acquisitions like Mike Piazza; Al Leiter; Turk Wendell; John Olerud and Armando Benitez; and he also signed such unsung unknowns like Rick Reed, who turned out to be very valuable. In the draft, he selected current stars as David Wright and Scott Kazmir and signed Jose Reyes.
Up until the last couple of years of his reign, he was very respectable (on the field) GM who was aggressive (sometimes overly so) in making maneuvers to make his veteran team better immediately. Those decisions cost the Mets players like Jason Bay and Jason Isringhausen among others, but under Bobby Valentine, Isringhausen wasn’t going to pitch and the Mets weren’t the only team to give up on the late-blooming Bay. Valentine wasn’t exactly blameless in the deals the Mets made although he likes to absolve himself of things like the Vaughn debacle; Phillips wasn’t working alone in the successes or the failures.
I’m not trying to make Steve Phillips look like he was Branch Rickey; nor am I advocating him for another big league job (he seems happy and is pretty good at his current broadcasting vocation); and there were some off-field issues that would give pause before giving him another chance, but to defend and extol the virtues of DePodesta with his heinous record, while treating Phillips as if he were spinning a wheel and getting lucky once-in-a-while like an unevolved, semi-trained primate is even worse because it’s not only inaccurate, it’s not fair based on facts and track record.