It’s hard to imagine, but the MLB Trade Deadline is two weeks away. We’re starting to get some actual rumors connecting teams to players. We’re even getting the Pirates connected to players like Matt Garza, Alex Rios, Nate Schierholtz, and Kendrys Morales.
The rumors surrounding the trade deadline can be fun. It can be exciting to think about what players could be on the move, what prospects rebuilding teams could get, and so on. But it’s important to keep perspective about the rumors. In a lot of cases, the trades that happen are the ones we don’t hear about, while the rumors we hear are deals that never came to be.
Last year we heard about Justin Upton, Chase Headley, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence. We didn’t hear about Wandy Rodriguez, Travis Snider, or Gaby Sanchez. In 2011 the talk was about guys like Carlos Beltran. There wasn’t much talk about Derrek Lee or Ryan Ludwick. It’s not that the trades the Pirates actually made were bad. They were just unexpected.
That’s not to say that hearing about Kendrys Morales now means the Pirates have no chance of landing him. In fact, it’s saying the opposite. We’re going to hear a lot of things in the next few weeks. We will hear that the Pirates had a scout watching a player. We will hear that the Pirates inquired on a player. We’ll hear about the Pirates strongly pursuing guys. We might even hear very specific things like “the Pirates have made an offer for Player A” without knowing what the offer is.
The thing to remember is that the trade deadline can be very vague. “Inquiring” on a player can be as simple as asking if a player is available. Strongly pursuing a player could mean the team found out the guy was available, and started discussing what it would take to get him. We might even hear that an offer has been made, although that doesn’t mean a trade is on the way.
Everyone loves trade rumors, but the truth behind them is that they might not always be reliable information. In a lot of cases, rumors could be teams negotiating through the media. As an example, if you wanted to drive up the price of someone like Garza, you could leak that six teams were strongly pursuing him. I don’t know that this rumor came from the Cubs, but it was reported in Chicago, and the Cubs are the only ones who benefit from people knowing that several teams (including a few with loaded farm systems) are going after their big trade chip.
There’s probably a reason you don’t hear rumors about the trades that actually get made. Those deals are obviously a situation where the two teams are in agreement on the values being exchanged. Thus there would be no reason for one side to play games and try to get the other side to increase their offer.
The next two weeks will be filled with rumors about specific players being connected to the Pirates in some way. It’s entertaining to pencil those guys into a lineup and think about how they could improve the team. It’s also possible that the Pirates could acquire one or two of those players. But based on previous years, it seems more likely that the Pirates will acquire someone we’re not even thinking about today, rather than someone we will be talking about as a possibility for the next two weeks.
Links and Notes
**Download the newest episode of the Pirates Prospects Podcast: P3 Episode 13: What Are the Needs For the Pirates as the Deadline Nears?
**Episode 3 of the Pirates Roundtable can be viewed here. This week’s episode features James Santelli as the host, along with Ed Giles of In Clemente Weather, Michael Waterloo of Pittsburgh Sporting News, Steve Petrella of MLB.com, Cory of Three Rivers Burgh Blog, and Brian McElhinney of Raise The Jolly Roger.