Ah, the trade deadline. It's a time for well-sourced rumors and made-up rumors mingling together as equals, all being shot through cables and satellites for your consumption. Most of them are empty calories, but you can't just stop at one.
In a lot of the tweets and articles about trade rumors, though, you'll see code words. This is an attempt to assign definitions and explanations to the terms for the first time. If you see any that I've missed, please fill in the gaps in the comments section.
According to a source who requested anonymity
This is a very straightforward description. It means that the person who wrote the article is a lying sociopath who likes to see the little ants on Twitter scramble, possibly yelling, "Scramble, little ants! Go. Panic, and wreak havoc based on my whisper!" while cackling like a pack-a-day Reno cocktail waitress on nitrous oxide.
(A player) has not agreed to waive his no-trade clause
This player has an agent who likes money. The player likes money too. They are totally on the same page. They would like more money because that is the sort of thing that they both like. Maybe there's a way to turn the no-trade clause into a little bit of money.
For example, this article has an illuminating opening paragraph:
Carlos Beltran has not agreed officially to waive his no-trade clause to the Red Sox or any other team because he has not yet been traded.
I have not officially agreed to eat a sandwich because I have not made a sandwich yet. But I'm in talks with the bread, and we've agreed on smoked turkey as the main ingredient. But they want me to take back mayonnaise's contract, and I'm refusing because I'm scared that nasty, scummy egg paste will negatively affect my internal chemistry.
Highly placed source
This is an usher who works in the upper deck.
Looking for major-league ready players
This is when teams have a player who is about to be a free agent, and they want a young, controllable player already doing well. This is the equivalent of driving your Pontiac Aztek back and forth in front of the BMW dealership, hoping someone will flag you down and offer a straight exchange.
Most of the time, this is code for Jose Canseco's Twitter feed. Reporters will take the raw ore of a tweet like this ...
Wow will Clark looks like a bloted seal on pros vs joes
... and turn it into this:
When asked to gauge the Giants' interest in acquiring another hitter, a major-league source said that their interest is "heavy."
And this ...
Would love to meet a nice holesome midwest girl here in chicago. We play tomorrow night at 7 pm in zion if anyone is out there for me
... becomes this:
A major league source confirmed that a representative from Arizona is in Chicago today, discussing ways to fill several holes at once.
Two opposing teams. You'll see it like, "The deal makes sense, but the rival camps have be unable to complete a trade."
It's a pretty obvious definition, but I wanted to point out that because I'm into this whole Game of Thrones show, I'm picturing GMs, assistant GMs, and everyone in a forest clearing with a huge war camp, and they're sending ravens to the other camp, offering to exchange their hostage (Taylor Teagarden, from House Teagarden) for one of their own who was taken (Blake Hawksworth, from House Hawksworth).
I'm a huge nerd.
Person with knowledge of the team's thinking
This is someone who has read the secret scrolls and understands that teams usually want to get better, not worse, when they make trades. This is why you will never see this sentence in an article about the Royals. The Royals have not read the scrolls, and they're making trades because they just want to be liked by the other teams.
Picture everything said by a "rival executive" as if Karl Rove said it. They're rivals. It says it right there in the description. They're looking to embarrass the executive.
The Yankees are exploring the possibility of signing 39-year-old Brien Taylor and immediately slotting him in the rotation, according to rival executives.
And Brian Cashman reads that and says, "Wait, what in the hell?" as Theo Epstein calls his office, lets it ring once and hangs up, several times throughout the day.
This is a sad person, usually an orphan. They respond to "Hey, you!" and "Buddy, can you help me out here?" because they don't have a name. Sometimes, when they're feeling especially loose and free, they'll give themselves a name, like "John Boy" or "Rex," but they'll give up shortly after, realizing it's pathetic to give themselves a name. All they want is a name.
These sources usually make up rumors about players to be named later because that's the only thing they can think of. It consumes them.