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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
In this corner, you have a Jayson Stark report in which an anonymous source claims that the Dodgers have called Adam Dunn's agent either because they've moved on from all of the Manny drama, or because they want to pressure Ramirez.
In this corner, you have a Bill Shaikin report in which Adam Dunn -- along with several other corner outfielders -- is only mentioned as a possibility while Ned Colletti goes on record saying that "Manny is the first choice" and never confirms that Dunn's people have been called.
So who's right? Is Colletti actually hot for Dunn as Stark says, or is all of this just hot air?
Before I answer that, I feel compelled to note that these kinds of dueling reports are one of the biggest reasons I hate the hot stove season. While on the surface everyone is playing GM and that's kind of fun, what's really going on is media tea leaf reading and scoop envy, resulting in a bunch of noise that ultimately means very little. Manny Ramirez will sign somewhere, and when he does there will be interesting things to talk about. Adam Dunn will sign somewhere, and when he does, there will be interesting things to talk about. Until then, it's all yammering and spin, and I get enough of that with my day job.
But since I've gone this far, I'll weigh in on all of the nonsense by saying that I think the Dunn thing is non-Dodger wishcasting and that Colletti probably hasn't even called Dunn's people. After all, if he had, why would he say to Shaikin that "Manny is the first choice?" If he actually did want and ultimately signed Dunn, publicly stating that he was a second choice at best would be an awful way to start out Dunn's days in Los Angeles. At the same time, if a Colletti call to Dunn happened but it was really intended as a bluff, saying that Manny was the first choice would undercut its bluff value. Unless your level of interest in Dunn is nil, saying anything about Manny in this situation makes no sense. Against that backdrop, I can only conclude that Colletti's statement about wanting Manny is genuine, and maybe comes off more nakedly desperate than Colletti intended it to be. Indeed, it's all but an admission that he isn't considering anyone else despite the filler provided by Shaikin.
So what of Stark's report? Note that the source of the alleged Colletti-Dunn call wasn't a Dodgers official. It was "an executive of a team interested in Dunn." Query: Why on Earth would such a beast want to make public reports that a team other than his own is interested in Dunn? Sure, I suppose it doesn't truly risk jacking Dunn's price up because Dunn himself would know if another team was actually calling him, but f you were really interested in Dunn, wouldn't you nonetheless want there to be some perception out there that he's totally unwanted by anyone excpet you? The only situation I can see such a leak making sense is if Dunn was the kind of guy your fanbase is clamoring for and would be upset if you didn't land. Hey, I like Adam Dunn more than a lot of people, but he ain't one of those guys.
Here's an idea: Stark's anonymous source is fibbing about being interested in Dunn. Maybe he's really interested in Manny Ramirez, and by leaking the idea that Colletti is talking to Dunn, he's attempting to poison whatever is left of the Manny-Colletti relationship, thus increasing his team's chance at landing Manny.
OK, that's all pretty much meaningless yammering spin of my own, so I'm no better than anyone else.
God, I hate this time of year.
If, at around 9:30 this morning, you did a Google News search for "baseball," these two articles would have showed up right at the top:
1. "Yankees’ spending could hurt baseball"; and
2. "The Marlins, not the Yankees, are Killing Baseball."
The first article is an editorial from a somewhat venerable newspaper of record in a somewhat venerable eastern industrial town. The second article appears to come from some random twentysomething blogger with interesting hair. My guess is that far more people read the paper every day than read that blog. Which is a shame, because the newspaper editorial is full of baloney, and the blogger, who actually marshals some facts and cogent arguments, is pretty much right.
This makes no sense, but a deal obviously didn't happen, so it probably doesn't matter anyway. And the more I think about it, the more I believe that it's a leak, the sole purpose of which is to make those Red Sox fans who care about such things think that their team is actually doing something this offseason besides being lapped by the Yankees.
Things to think about as you stand upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below:
Hold on babies, the holidays will soon be over and before you know it, some actual baseball will happen again.