Sources Say . . .

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.

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  1. John said...

    Didn’t the Dodgers ask about Dunn 3-4 years ago?  I remember the rumor being that the Reds wanted Edwin Jackson (a top 10 prospect at the time) in return.

    Dunn to LA rumors have been around for years and I’ll believe it only when I see Dunn in Dodger blue.  That guy is a first basemen AT BEST at this point in his career.  All NL teams should think twice before even contacting him.

  2. Tim Dierkes said...

    Does Stark say anything about the Dodgers moving on from Manny?  I didn’t see these two reports as at odds with each other.

    Stark: And with no certainty that they can re-sign Ramirez, they seem to have decided that Dunn represents their best alternative.

    Shaikin: As the stalemate between Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers approaches its third month, the club is exploring whether Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn could replace Ramirez in left field.

  3. basepoint said...

    An example above of what happens when common sense and reasoning fall asleep at the wheel on a quiet snowy road and drift quietly into a snowbank….

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I don’t think they’re conflicting stories in the sense that one is reporting A and the other is reporting B. I just think that the way they fill in the blanks suggests a couple of different and arguably inconsistent possibilities (how’s that for weasel language?).

    Specifically, I don’t think the difference is about whether the Dodgers still want Manny as much as it is about whether they Dodgers have actually done anything about Dunn.  Stark (via a curiously attenuated anonymous source) says they called Dunn’s people.  Shaikin’s doesn’t say that a call has happened.  True, rather than a denial it’s Colletti going no comment, but it’s surrounded by a Colletti quote (“Manny is the first choice”) that doesn’t make any sense for a guy calling Adam Dunn (either as bluff to Manny or as genuine interest) to make.

    Of course, the distinct possibility is that Colletti is a bad negotiator and he’s just being erratic, in which case the reports could mesh wisely.

  5. pete said...

    I’m with you, Craig. What really annoys me is all of the obvious PR angling and market manipulation that gets reported as a rumor or sold as the general feeling around the game.

    For example, when Buster Olney reports that an executive says that the market for Manny Ramirez is “nonexistent”, do you think it ever crosses his mind that the executive just might have a vested interest in selling that perception?

    We all jump to call out Scott Boras when he says that he has a massive deal on the table for Player X. Why don’t we more frequently call out the anonymous “baseball sources” who tell us that Team Y isn’t really that interested in Player X anyway, or that there’s no market for Player X outside of Team Y?

    I’m going off on a tangent here, but I wonder if some of these reporters aren’t so close to team executives (not to mention being reliant on them for future inside info) to step back and wonder “Why is this guy telling me this, and why is he doing it now?”

  6. Tim Dierkes said...

    I don’t know.  I think Stark and Olney have been in this game for so long that they definitely know when they’re being played.  If Stark is guilty of something it is probably making too much of a Dodger phone call to Dunn’s agent when their interest has been known for some time (and that may actually be the fault of ESPN’s editors). A phone call is nothing.  I’m guessing at least ten teams made a phone call on Dunn – the five or so we know and five we don’t.

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