The Cleveland Indians will undoubtedly be the subject of much trade speculation in the coming months. Is it all worth getting bent out of shape over?
We are officially two full weeks into the portion of the baseball calendar known as Hot Stove Season, but I actually just filed a petition with the league office to have the name changed.
Some of the new names I included in my pitch are: Source Familiar With Situation Season, Multiple Executives Believe… Season, Asking Price Is Said To Be Too High Season, and [Insert Obvious Declaration On What Team Would “Like” To Do Here] Season.
What I guess I’m trying to say is that for the next two and a half months or so, our Twitter timelines are about to be bombarded with one “update” after another on which players might be going where, who might be talking to who in trade negotiations, and of course, Scott Boras’ overly articulate and somewhat falsely pessimistic feelings toward the labor situation at large. These reports will serve as the kindling for the Hot Stove if, for the third year in a row, it takes awhile for anything to actually happen.
I’ll stop short of labeling it a collective bunch of malarkey; there are varying levels of truth to everything we’re going to be told by every member of the national baseball media citing an unnamed source this winter–which is to say the reporters themselves are issuing us information in good faith, even if that information is being given to them by an agent or front office executive with ulterior motives.
But the fact of the matter is that until we see some confirmation that a deal of some sort has been agreed to, the best thing we can do is filter out the noise.
This is especially true for anyone with a vested interest in the Cleveland Indians. The people of Cleveland won’t just have to shiver their way through another bitter winter by the lake; they’ll also have to contend with several blizzards full of Francisco Lindor trade rumors. Many of these have already begun to surface.
As if that’s not enough, Jon Heyman dropped this tidbit onto Twitter late Wednesday afternoon.
As helpless onlookers with no say in what decisions are ultimately made, reports like this popping up every couple of hours from now until February are enough to drive even the most level-headed of us completely insane.
We dealt with it last year as the names of Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer were dangled almost daily in trade speculation. It continued well into the season until Bauer was finally moved at the trade deadline. And there will be a ceaseless number of these rumors this winter, most of which will primarily revolve around Lindor.
So how do we go about “filtering out the noise”? Well, for starters, consider the source of the information. If the report we’re seeing is coming from a member of the national media, remember that these people have access to agents and front offices all around the league.
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A guy like Heyman could talk to five different sources about the same subject within a day, and receive five different and conflicting sentiments. Of course at least a few of the dozens–if not hundreds–of people these national reporters are in contact with are going to mention something along the lines of Lindor being traded at some point.
It’s also worth noting that part of these national media members’ fundamental job as employees of a company is to continue to drive traffic to their respective news outlets throughout the offseason. They can’t be faulted for reporting on rumors and speculation; we as readers just need to understand that it all must be taken with a grain of salt.
Another way to keep calm during the madness that is Artificially Heated Stove Season is to consider the recent trading history of the Indians. Was anyone speculating for weeks about the three-team deal that brought Carlos Santana to Cleveland last winter? What about the July 2018 deal in which the Tribe acquired Brad Hand?
Regarding the Bauer deal at the 2019 deadline, there were reports mere hours earlier that he was “unlikely” to be traded. Not to beat up on Jon Heyman here, but below is a tweet from the very morning that Bauer was traded to the Reds.
The point being: the Indians primarily operate in the shadows and play things pretty close to the vest in terms of what they’re working on in trade negotiations. While the Reds and Yasiel Puig were considered by many to be a good fit for a trade involving Bauer, the deal itself came out of nowhere.
Are big-market teams like the Yankees and Dodgers inevitably going to be “linked to” the Indians in trade talks this winter? You bet. To the point where the mere mention of them grows stale after awhile–if it hasn’t already.
But remember the clandestine nature in which Cleveland’s front office has pulled off its highest-profile trades over the last several years, and it becomes (somewhat) easier to separate the smoke from the fire.
As someone whose emotional (and honestly, physical) well-being depends almost entirely upon what the Indians do both on and off the field, I know all too well what it’s like to get worked up over a report that the big, bad Yankees had the audacity to inquire as to the availability of our franchise player. But we’re all better off ignoring the rumors and trying to enjoy our upcoming holidays. After all, they’re just rumors. Until they’re not.