Ladies and gentlemen, there is one lesson you need to learn when it comes to the MLB Trade Deadline.
Everything you hear is crap.
Today, it was rumored the Dodgers were interested in Jimmy Rollins (by the way, if that one’s true, we should all chip in and buy Magic Johnson a really nice pony). Shane Victorino’s name has been linked as a possible trade target by numerous teams (why do teams think Shane can bat leadoff when he can’t even bat leadoff for the Phils?). Hunter Pence “could be” a hot commodity. And of course, there’s the big Cole Hamels sweepstakes, which the Rangers are going to win because they’re going to give the Phillies Mike Olt and then everyone is going to live happily ever after on big white puffy clouds while sliding down rainbows into a Care Bear meadow of four-leaf clovers.
Yeah, it’s pretty darn special.
You also hear rumors of impending contract offers in the form of leaks from the franchise as well as the player’s “friends,” as to what the details of the contract are and how each side feels the other will respond to said contract offer.
It’s all crap.
Earlier on Monday, it was John Heyman of CBS Sports who reported the Phillies were preparing a $120 million contract offer to present to Hamels.
The Phillies are said to be planning to offer at least $120 million to star lefthander Cole Hamels in an effort to keep him in Philadelphia and prevent him from becoming a free agent, according to sources.
The Phillies hope to to keep Hamels, but some people within the organization aren’t overly optimistic they can prevent him from going to free agency at this point. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who is credited by people in the organization for his ability to lock up the team’s stars to long deals, has said all along he hopes to keep Hamels. Amaro declined comment on the amount of the coming offer to Hamels.
– John Heyman, CBS Sports.com
There are a few things to consider when digesting information like this.
First, who are the sources and what are their motivations? Of course, we don’t know. In journalism all you need are a few unnamed sources with some kind of vague idea as to what’s going on in order for it to become a news story. In this particular case, the “sources” are people from inside the Phillies organization.
For all we know, the anonymous “sources” could be Ruben Amaro and/or Scott Proefrock. They could be using the media as some negotiating ploy. It certainly wouldn’t be out of the character of Amaro and his cohorts to do something like that. In fact, all general managers of all sports do it. It’s smart business.
Second, how do we know the “sources” have the correct information? If one of the sources is indeed Amaro, how do we know he’s not fibbing? Because remember, there is one indisputable truth when it comes to Ruben Amaro.
Remember last year when he said over and over and over again that the Phillies were not players for Hunter Pence?
The fact is, Ruben Amaro usually gets what he wants, but he usually goes about it quite surreptitiously. You can never take anything like this at face value until more facts are in play.
Third, the Phillies know that Hamels is going to turn down any five-year deal, unless it’s for about $30 million a year. The Phillies know what Hamels will fetch on the open market, and they know what Hamels wants.
If a five-year, $120 million offer is factually accurate, then it’s not a real offer, because they know it’s a contract Hamels won’t sign. At least not before free agency.
Fourth, why would “sources” from inside the organization go on the record and say that they know this offer won’t get the job done? Are these the same people leaking the contract numbers? If so, why are they publicly saying they don’t think this offer will be enough? Why tell your fan base, “Yeah, we’re offering him this money, but we know he ain’t gonna take it.”
That’s the same as saying “Hey guys, we’re not really trying to sign Cole. We just want it to LOOK like we’re trying to sign Cole.”
The bottom line with all of this is not to get too worked up about these types of things. These are negotiations. Negotiations, especially those involving contracts for big money, tend to go back and forth. There are still two full weeks for both sides to come to an arrangement, and even longer than that if the Phils decide not to trade Hamels after all. There is time for the Phils to come in low and work their way up.
Is that strategy a waste of time? Yeah, it is. The Phillies know what Hamels wants, and Hamels will know when the Phillies have made a truly serious offer.
Until then, take everything you read, hear and see with a grain of salt.
Because with Ruben Amaro running the show, everything you hear is crap.