A Hot Stove Full Of Rumors, Hints and Allegations

An article by posted on October 27, 2009

It’s only October, but the Hot Stove Season is fired up and ready to go. Just make sure you don’t get too close to the stove or you could get burned.

Us Mets fans will have it bad again this off season as sports pundits like Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, and others are gearing up to go toe to toe and provide thousands of bloggers with plenty of content to occupy our time during the long off season. Many of them will be sure to mention the Mets in many of their tweets, blurbs and blog posts simply because of how engaged we are as Mets fans, and because we like to react or overreact to any new information, regardless if it’s a legitimate rumor or just idle speculation.

Last weekend, Jon Heyman wrote that the Mets had no interest in Milton Bradley (Neither do I), and yet in another post Ken Rosenthal wrote the Mets already contacted the Cubs regarding Bradley. Obviously the Mets must have had some interest if they actually took the time to call. Or did Rosenthal get it wrong and the Mets never made any such call?

Yesterday we had Jon Heyman writing that the Mets have no interest in John Lackey, but just days earlier Lackey was reportedly the Mets top off season target if you were to believe the reports on ESPN.

Last week it was reported that Matt Holliday might be too rich for the Mets taste and that they may look at a less expensive Jason Bay instead, and less than a day later we read that the Mets are “all in” on Holliday and have no interest in Bay.

It’s pretty confusing, isn’t it?

The need to produce content at a furious pace is clearly in play and just about anyone will say anything in the name of the almighty “hit” or “page view”.

In the last 24-hours we went from the speculation that Carlos Beltran could be traded as was reported in the Boston Herald, to another writer from the same newspaper saying that he knows for a fact the Mets will not trade Beltran. That little exchange spawned about three dozen posts on the subject of trading Beltran, including one right here at Mets Merized. In the end, all of us Mets bloggers managed to keep our readers entertained even though the chance that the Mets would trade Beltran was slim to none.

The Hot Stove Season is a lot of fun, but it can get rather confusing very quickly, especially if you forget that 99.5% of what you read is purely speculative with very little if any fact attached to it. You have sports writers who care more about getting the scoop instead of the facts. They inundate the web with a non-stop stream of hints and allegations, with each one trying to outdo the other as if they were in some sort of a competition. There is no such thing as a slow news day on the web where baseball rumors are concerned. Unfortunately, most of those rumors are not rumors at all, but just some gibberish that is intended to elicit a reaction.

It’s too bad we can’t go back and create a database of all theses so-called rumors and see how many of them actually came to fruition. That way we can say “wow look at this guy, he’s batting .315″ or “that guy blows, his OBP is .289!”

I bet most of them are hitting below the Mendoza line…

Seriously though, wouldn’t it be great if we could hold the rumor-mongers to a higher level of accuracy and responsibility?

While technology has advanced the productivity of almost every industry in this country, accurate reporting in the news and sports industry continues to sink to new lows every day. And when they screw up royally, they can always blame it on their unnamed sources. Sources by the way are another growing problem. All of a sudden everybody’s got them, heck even I got six of them (four in my front pocket and two in my back). But that’s a topic that deserves a post and a couple of thousand words of its own. Maybe I’ll hit that subject tomorrow.

Fortunately, we still have our eyes, ears and intellect to help us sift through all the noise. So, now that you understand what’s in play, you can go ahead and have fun debating the incessant speculations and outpourings that we’ll be flooded with in the next few months. Just remember to take it all with a grain of salt.

Consider most of the so-called rumors more for their entertainment value, rather than an actual prelude to an imminent trade or signing.

Of course there are legitimate trade rumors too. They can usually be identified by the names, quotes, dates, details and facts that are attached to them. My rule of thumb is that the more information you get, the more likelihood that there is some validity to it.

When you see something like this: “Mets apparently leaning towards Jason Giambi”, don’t freak out.

Instead look for something that reads like this: “I just got off the phone with Omar Minaya, who told me that he has a 3:00 PM meeting scheduled with Scott Boras in New York, regarding his client Matt Holliday.”

The first quote is someone just throwing something out there, the second one is chock full of details and assuming it’s from a reliable source, it’s a legitimate rumor.

Those of you who can spot the difference will get a better idea of what the Mets may actually be up to this winter.

Enjoy the off season!

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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