And the false rumors fly

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While Ken Davidoff described for us the language of baseball winter, I’m not so sure he meant it would go this far. Sure, we’ve heard “parameters” and “ideas” plenty so far, but we’ve also seen the word “signed” used a bit loosely.

It started with Trever Miller. Last Wednesday Bernie Biklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that Miller would be in town for a physical on Thursday, and that “If that goes as expected, he’s the LH specialist.” We found out on Friday that a deal had not been finalized. This remains the case as of this writing.

Then we had the bit about Rafael Furcal this morning. This developed rather quickly. In the a.m., the L.A. Times picked up a story about a Dominican paper which claimed to have talked to Furcal. The shortstop claimed he had a four-year $48 million offer on the table from the A’s, as well as an offer to play second base for the Mets. Not long after noon, the A’s rumor was debunked. The Mets debunking came shortly afterwards. Furcal’s agent maintains that neither offer was made.

In what might be the worst of these, Sweeny Murti of WFAN reported that the Giants signed Edgar Renteria for two years and $18 million. The shortstop’s agent chimed in a few hours later, saying his client was home in Colombia and no deal was imminent. That remains the case. Looks like Sweeny jumped the gun by a lot.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, there was even a report on Odalis Perez, from ESPN Deportes, which quoted the pitcher saying: “My agent is working with National. We have an offer for two or three years and is subject to fine-tune details.” That, as you can guess, has been debunked. This saves us from a mini heart attack.

Everyone’s a fan of a good rumor. It makes the hot stove interesting. However, I’d rather not hear anything than hear something not true. Unfortunately, with everyone gunning for the big scoop, we’re probably going to see a few more false starts this off-season. Which is a shame. When we read a player is signed, he better damn well be signed. Can you imagine if this happened with CC Sabathia and the Yanks?

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  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    This just in: My sources tell me that the Red Sox have signed CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira to matching below-market 5yr/50M deals. CC and Tex apparently just loved the Sox team first attitude, selflessness, and scraptasticality too much to haggle over price, and just told the Sox to pay them whatever they thought was appropriate.

    The team plans to play Kevin Youkilis at shortstop, where he’s been working out to rave reviews this offseason, and announced that Sabathia and Junichi Tazawa will battle it out in the spring for a spot as the 8th inning bridge to Papelbon, and the loser will get a spot in the rotation.

    For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, RSPN.

    • E-ROC

      CC denies this report; stating that he has had no such conversations. He also said “Where are all the black people?”

      • iYankees

        Outside of Fenway, which means that Sox fans are comfortable.

    • Mike A.

      … the loser will get a spot in the rotation.

      Hilarious. Pure gold.

  • dan

    I’d rather that Perez report be true. At least it would mean that the Yankees are out of the running for him.

    • A.D.

      1 yr deal, have him start the beginning of the season, then after a month, have Joba take his place, use him as a long reliver until he can be traded to someone needing an arm.

      Just a thought…but I agree I don’t really see why they would be in on him

  • Chip

    I’m just happy none of this is going down with any Yankee targets (so far). I’m not too concerned though. They’ll land CC around the winter meetings and probably end up with two of Burnett/Tex/Dunn/Sheets/Lowe. If they don’t get two pitchers, they’ll resign Pettite (and maybe they will even if they do) and if they don’t get two pitchers they’ll probably get either Dunn or Tex to play first

  • brockdc

    I think what we’re seeing is the beginning of the end of mainstream sports journalism. Many of these apocryphal reports smack of an industry that’s struggling to remain relevant, as opposed to one that’s challenging itself to elevated levels of greatness.

    The fact of the matter is that the only thing that mainstream journalists can offer any more is access – which is a hugely important element. But what we’re witnessing here is what happens when that clubhouse access is unavailable. And when they can’t get us one-on-one interviews with Hal, Cash, et. al., their speculation and analysis is pretty useless and typically no better than the average blogger. It’s oftentimes worse and far less insightful.

    • ceciguante

      i think you’re overstating the case, as is the post.
      journalists get paid to provide scoops, b/c we (the fans) want to know everything yesterday. bloggers have the luxury of sitting back, waiting until 2 or 3 reputable sources report something, and then linking to it.

      that’s not journalism. while blogging is great in it’s own way, i reckon it’s a lot easier than being the guy who has to acquire and then sift through endless first person accounts to figure out the truth, all the while getting whipped on to scoop his rivals (who are racing against him). tough, tough industry. i’m surprised RAB is calling out the guys who basically do their legwork for them.

      • iYankees

        I agree that blogging isn’t NECESSARILY journalism, as there are a lot of distinctions and differences between the two. However, both sides also share a lot of similarities and to speak generally and negatively of bloggers, in the way that you are, is wrong.

        Bloggers do a lot of work and we work hard (my blog isn’t as popular as this one and I work hard as hell, so I figure RAB is a tough gig). I must say, whether we’re verifying sources, checking rumors and holding writers accountable, or posting statistical information about a player in order to counter a journalist’s patently false commentary, there’s a powerful watchdog element to blogging that is necessary and useful. That, in and of itself, is citizen journalism and is extremely helpful to those of us who actually care to hear truthful information.

        This whole journalism-blogging distinct has continued to blur. I mean, you have Ken Davidoff, Jon Heyman, Peter Abraham, all of these guys BLOGGING because the format is great for readers. You have guys like George King who talk out of their ass, half the time. It’s sad that you would think so crudely of bloggers (seriously). Journalists have a tough job and sports writers are really fighting for their viability in a competitive market, but to say that bloggers are lazy “critics” is such a barren assessment.

        • ceciguante

          get off your horse, man, and while you’re at it, take back all the words you falsely attributed to me.

          i didn’t call bloggers “lazy critics” (your words), nor do i “think crudely” of them (yours again). if you pulled your head out, you’d see that i didn’t slam blogging at all. the gist of my post was that bloggers recycle material that journalists assemble first person (which is the harder job, imo, esp during this insane hot stove period), so i’m surprised to see a blogger slamming the journalists who do their legwork. and make no mistake, RAB’s post was skewering journalists.

          specifically, i said:
          “…while blogging is great in its own way…”

          you missed the point of my post entirely, which doesn’t portend well for your own blog. go grind your axe somewhere else.

      • Count Zero

        i reckon it’s a lot easier than being the guy who has to acquire and then sift through endless first person accounts to figure out the truth

        I would buy that argument if there were more than a handful of beat writers who actually did all that work…

        It’s more like: One guy who works in the FO calls me on the phone, tells me something outrageous, and I build a story around it because I’m on deadline and I don’t have anything else useful to say. If no one calls me, I just make it up entirely. :-)

    • A.D.

      Thats a bit much, bloggers feed off of what journalism write, with all do respect to all the blogs out there, and this one, for the most part they don’t do interviews & create original news (the exception would be the beat writer blogs…but then they are journalists), they pull together & offer commentary on the news journalists write.

      While I agree that a lot of the recent word twisting & rumor mongering coming out of sports journalists can be a bit pathetic, it far from means the end to sports journalists, if anything the blogging era & the internet means that they are read even more than ever, as bloggers completely rely on news to have commentary, then have posters provide commentary, get hits, and sell advertising. The checking every day is probably causing a lack of content from when they needed a story a week for the sporting news

  • tony

    it’s Colombia, not Columbia.

  • Peter Lacock

    Here’s an absolutely 100% true scoop you can take to the bank it’s just a matter of what day it will officially be announced:

    Pettitte will sign with the NYY. The details of the contract are irrelevant to everyone except Pettitte and the Yanks.

    Other non-scoops that you can stop waiting for:

    Jake Peavy will not be traded to NYY.
    Cano will not be traded.
    Adam Dunn will not even get a sniff from NYY because they know he sucks really bad.
    Manny will not get a sniff from NYY either. Although he can hit, his D is Dunn-like, not to mention expense, personality, etc.

    • Joseph P.

      You ruin your whole statement by saying Adam Dunn “sucks really bad.” You can say he’s not a good fit for the team, and that’s fine. But to say that he sucks is just wrong.

      • TurnTwo

        maybe he’s playing along by saying its a non-scoop, but what he’s saying about Adam Dunn IS a scoop to most who watch baseball games… so more false rumors?

      • Eric

        The thing is, he’s an absolutely great fit for the team. About a hundred walks and 40 homers? Sign me up; he’s relatively young, fits the Yankees style of play well, and the market is definitely down on him at this point. The Yankees could get him at a steal-like price.

        This could also open up trade doors for Matsui and/or Damon and/or Nady.

        Are you listening, Brian?

    • steve (different one)

      i am uncomfortable with a guy named “Peter LaCock” using the word “sniff” so often.

      • Baseballnation

        lMAO yea I just read over his comment and the irony is well in play haha.

      • Peter Lacock

        Dunn’s defense is ‘don’t let him have a glove’ bad. He’s terrible in the OF, worse at 1B and he’s a basepath clogger. His power and the BB’s that are a product of that, do not change that. He does not fit the professed philosophy of the Yankees to become more athletic and get better defensively. He would be a good pinch hitter on a good team and a DH that puts fans in the seats on a bad team. Nothing more. Think what you like about him but understand that he will not even get a ‘sniff’ from the Yankees and he will not get a ‘taste’ of Yankee pinstripes. That’s the non-scoop . If you want to obsess about some one-dimensional bum, that’s your business. ‘Enjoy the ride’. Back in the day there were a lot of people that obsessed about Dave Kingman.

        • Joseph P.

          Yet you totally exaggerate the case. From an actual Reds fan, who has watched Dunn far more than me or you:

        • Eric

          Adam Dunn’s career OBP: .381
          Dave Kingman’s career OBP: .302

          Adam Dun’s career SLG: .518
          Dave Kingman’s career SLG: .478

          Kingman averaged 51 BBs/162.
          Dunn averages 114.

          This stupid “base clogger” thing needs to stop as well. Who’s more valuable: Dunn or Juan Pierre? If you answer the latter, you’re clearly insane.

          • steve (different one)

            Eric is right. Kingman is a horrible comp for Dunn, b/c Kingman didn’t walk.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          “and he’s a basepath clogger”

          I’m telling you, dude, FJM left too soon. Their work is not yet finished.


          • Eric

            Haha, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I read that.

          • Count Zero

            I assumed he was being a troll at that point…no one can actually use that term with a straight face anymore, can they?

            • Eric

              I hope not.

  • A.D.

    Given that a lot of these false rumors haven’t been that close (i.e. Renteria not even around), one would think it isn’t that difficult for reporters to be close on this one, like confirming their story.

    • Mike A.

      There is a time factor too. Breaking a story is a big deal for a guy like Murti. Sometimes having to wait around to confirm a story means they miss the boat entirely.

      • A.D.

        On top of that why would someone sign renteria before dec 1st when he likely won’t be offered arb.

      • Joseph P.

        Yes, a breaking story might be big for Sweeny, but the next time he has news like this, are you going to believe him?

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Joe, you should break the CC signing. Just go ahead and announce it, it may help.

        • ceciguante

          fair point, but in this atmosphere of rumors and scoops, can you really blame him and a few other journalists for getting the odd scoop wrong?

          if you think sweeny just made it up, that’s one thing. i haven’t seen anything to suggest that you think they’re just manufacturing scoops (unless we’re talking the Post and their stable of “official sources”).

          but if he just got one wrong b/c he thought he had a good source or two…so what? i also don’t see why renteria being in colombia is a factor, people sign contracts via fax all the time.

  • Matt

    All of the rumors leading up to the ‘real’ signings are like being back in High School….haha.

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