Every General Manager Is Always Willing To Listen

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees speaks to the media after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed due to rain on July 8, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

So according to reports, this given team is willing to listen to offers for this given player. That's very interesting! Wait, no it's not.

It is, presently, July 15. Which means it's almost July 31, which means it's almost the MLB trade deadline, which means we're beginning to get swamped with MLB trade rumors. This year, there's talk about Carlos Beltran getting traded. There's talk about Heath Bell getting traded. There's talk about Ryan Ludwick getting traded. Finally, we're seeing a little separation in the standings, and the landscape of buyers and sellers is coming into focus.

The trading season can be great fun for fans, and not just for fans of teams looking to make additions. The trading season promises excitement, and it promises change. Your team could add a player or two to improve its chances of winning the World Series now, or it could add a prospect or two to improve its chances of winning the World Series later. The only thing people love more than transactions is Cheez-Its, and transactions won't make you ugly and fat.

Because fans are in love with transactions, fans are in love with rumors. Rumors allow fans to consider several possible transactions and weigh the various costs and benefits. There is such a high demand for rumors, though, and so much traffic and attention to be gained, that sometimes the people we ordinarily look to for information will push statements that don't quite count. And one of these in particular drives me up the wall. An example:

#Braves not actively shopping Derek Lowe, scouts say, but are "willing to listen.'' Presence of Teheran & Minor gives them pitching depthless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

I don't mean to pick on Jerry Crasnick. I have nothing against Jerry Crasnick. I'm usually rather fond of Jerry Crasnick, and he kinds of looks like how my dad used to look. But he just posted this Tweet Friday morning, and it's the most recent example of my least favorite kind of report come this time of year.

Let's consider the message. On the surface, you read it and come away thinking, "Hey, the Braves might trade Derek Lowe, that's interesting." And that is interesting, because the idea of a Derek Lowe trade is interesting. But read it again. Not actively shopping ... Willing to listen.

"Willing to listen." What does that even mean? Why is that worth reporting? How is that informative? What general manager would ever not be willing to listen to listen to offers for a player? Do you understand how little effort it takes to answer a phone call? This isn't even like checking your voice-mail. Everybody hates checking their voice-mail. This is like pressing the "answer" button and putting the phone on speaker while the other person talks. How stubborn, lazy, and closed-minded would a general manager have to be to not want to listen to offers?

General manager that exists

GM 1: Hello?
GM 2: Hello.
GM 1: Hi, I would like to inquire about Player X.
GM 2: Proceed.
GM 1: I will offer you Prospects A, B and C.
GM 2: That is insufficient, but thank you for your interest.
GM 1: Thank you for your time!
GM 2: We're such good friends!

General manager that does not exist

GM 1: Hello?
GM 2: Hello.
GM 1:
Hi, I would like to inquire about Player X.
GM 2: Absolutely not.
GM 1: Pardon?
GM 2: No, that is not allowed.
GM 1: I don't understand.
GM 2: You are not allowed to inquire about Player X.
GM 1: But I'm just-
GM 2: You can talk all you want, but I am not going to listen.
GM 1: But what if I-
GM 2: I AM NOT
GM 1: I will offer you prospects-
GM 2: NOT LIST-EN-ING
GM 1: Prospects A, B and C-
GM 2: FA LA LA LA LA LA
GM 1: Look I'm just trying to work out a possible trade, here.
GM 2: Knock knock
GM 1: Excuse me?
GM 2:
Knock knock
GM 1: What are you doing?
GM 2: Say "who's there"
GM 1: Who's there?
GM 2: Somebody who is not listening!
GM 1: You are the worst.
GM 2: Poison oak is the worst!
GM 1: How do you run a baseball team
GM 2: I'm so itchy :(

General manager that also does not exist

Phone: /rings
GM 2:
Phone:
/rings
GM 2:
Phone:
/rings
GM 2:
Phone:
/rings
GM 2:
GM 2: /plays Freecell

There are people who are prolifically stubborn, lazy, and closed-minded. These people are not in charge of baseball teams. The people who are in charge of baseball teams are always willing to listen to offers for anybody at all times, because doing so is all upside, no downside. Even with untouchables and icons like Roy Halladay, Ichiro and Derek Jeter, I can assure you that Ruben Amaro, Jack Zduriencik and Brian Cashman would be willing to listen to offers, because they would not be unwilling to listen to offers, because that wouldn't make any sense. They would not not listen to another general manager were one to call with an idea.

Another way of putting this:

Willing1_medium

Willing2_medium

And none of those seven results link to the words of a stubborn GM. Four of them don't even link to baseball content! It's right there in the search query!

Rumor season can be fun, but a reporter reporting that Team A is willing to listen to offers for Player X is not a rumor, or in any way interesting. It is a universal truth, and perhaps the only one.

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