Leaps Of Verbiage

Media, Spring Training

Writing takes creativity—to a point.

Being able to make that which is discussed and analyzed in numerous different places seem fresh and new is one of the keys to gaining a following. There are of course those who try to be controversial for the sake of itself; gaining a readership due to shock value can work for a short while, but eventually grows

It’s easy to create twisted, splashy headlines that are designed to garner attention but contain little in terms of substance; sometimes it’s simply misleading. Such is the case in this CBS Sports Online posting about the Twins, the Yankees and Francisco Liriano.

If you read the headline: “Report: Yanks, Twins thinking Liriano Swap” makes it look like there have been substantial discussions between the two parties to deal Liriano to the pitching-desperate Yankees; of course fans started running with this, getting excited and hoping that swinging a deal for Liriano would solve the biggest hole on the Yankees roster.

But then, reading the text, you see that it’s nothing close to what the title implies.

Nowhere therein does it say anything about the clubs exchanging names, negotiating or being serious in trying to hammer out a trade.

The reality of the posting is the following:

A potentially significant deal that might be in the works — obviously the very preliminary stages — is a swap with the Twins for Francisco Liriano.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Yanks are “keeping a close eye” on Liriano and, likewise, the Twins are “keeping tabs on [Yankees] prospects.”

All this says is that the Yankees and Twins are watching one another; that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has called his Twins counterpart Bill Smith and said that if he ever puts Liriano on the market to get in touch with him.

So?

There’s no story here. It’s standard operating procedure for clubs to keep an eye on potential trading partners. This isn’t so much of a Yankees-Twins deal in the works as much as it’s a someday, someday, someday scenario that would require a series of occurrences to come to pass; the Yankees are keeping tabs on Liriano just in case the Twins fall out of contention; the Twins are scouting the Yankees if the Yankees get desperate enough to make an offer the Twins can’t refuse.

This requires the fortunes of both clubs break a certain way to lay the true foundation of such a deal for a potential frontline starter—a starter the Yankees know they need.

To believe that the Yankees would be the only suitors for Liriano and automatically get him because they’re the Yankees is sadly typical today; it’s the same logic that automatically assumed Cliff Lee was going to be a Yankee regardless of what Lee himself wanted. Much of this stems from the spoiled tantrums of Yankee fans; some of it from reporters crafting stories—dishonestly in my eyes—to gain readers who, if they know anything at all, should get angry at the way they were lured into reading what amounts to puffery.

Don’t you think the Twins would prefer to deal their most valuable pitching asset to a team in the National League so they wouldn’t be haunted by him? That they’d avoid trading him to a league rival that has dispatched them in the playoffs repeatedly? That other clubs in need of pitching (that would be almost all of baseball) would also bid for Liriano? With the loss of Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals would absolutely be all over Liriano if he came available; perhaps that would spur them to include Colby Rasmus in a trade.

To think that two clubs acting in due diligence on what might happen in the future is worth such attention is a reason not to read the writer of such drivel ever again.

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