Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tribe-Bucco 'Jason' talks at bay

About the only thing certain about the Jason Bay trade talks is they haven't resulted in a trade of the slugging left fielder to the Tribe.

If you read this morning's Plain Dealer you were told the talks "ended without a deal being reached."

That sentence appears in the middle of a lengthy story about upcoming contract talks between the Tribe and CC Sabathia. The sentence stands alone, with no further explanation.

Several paragraphs later is another orphaned sentence.
"The possibility of the Indians acquiring the right-handed-hitting Bay died before the Indians and Pirates arrived in Nashville."
Again, nothing to back that up. No explanation of how or why or when the talks "died."

As a member of the mainstream media myself, I'm not one of those blog guys who jumps all over newspaper guys just for sport. But in journalism 101 you learn that if you make a statement you need to back it up with something.

Hunting for that something, I took a look at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Their piece was almost as fuzzy, but not nearly as final.

The Gazette reports that neither Mark Shapiro nor the Pirates' Neal Huntington spoke specifically about a Bay deal.

Here was Huntington's response:

"If you'd hit me two weeks ago, I would've thought we had a good chance to make a trade before the meetings. If you hit me again in two weeks, I could tell you we've got a chance to make a trade the next day. The ebb and flow of trade talks is absolutely amazing. You might seem perfectly aligned, and another club comes in and shifts things."

The paper then quoted Shapiro as saying two recent near-deals "aren't even active," any longer.

The Gazette reports it got confirmation of a report that the White Sox were "really" interested in Bay, but that those talks didn't get very far. The Sox seemed to move on to fill their left field need with the acquisition of Carlos Quentin from Arizona.

That same source told the Gazette:

"I really see this as Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Or nothing at all."

Then there was that report yesterday of a Bay for Charles Nagy and Kelly Shoppach deal. (click the link and scroll down to the 3:09 p.m. entry).

Is it any wonder the Pirates didn't do that deal, if it was even seriously considered?

I presume the Pirates are considering a trade of Bay in the hopes that he'll bring a load of young talent that will develop into solid major leaguers. I think it's pretty clear they're not expecting to win anything in the next year or two.

Kelly Shoppach is a man looking for an opportunity. He'd fit in nicely with the Pirates' plans to build for the future.

But why would they want Lee? He'll be 30 during the upcoming season, was sent to the minors without a recall in mid-season this year, was a non-entity when the rosters expanded in September and was left off the Tribe's playoff roster.

If the Pirates were a team making a run this year and in need of another starter to bolster their chances, taking a shot on Lee might make sense.

But in the position they are in, and given the Tribe's abundance of young pitching, you would expect the Pirates to be looking at Aaron Laffey or Jeremy Sowers, not Cliff Lee.

It appears the Johan Santana sweepstakes winner may be drawn soon, and the likely winner will be the Red Sox.

A Boston Globe blog reported officials of the Twins and Red Sox went to bed late last night with visions of a big deal dancing in their heads.

In exchange for Santana, the Twins would get pitcher Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie.

A further indication that something big may about to boil over is a story in this morning's (NY) Daily News, which says the Yankees appear to moving on from Santana to Oakland's Dan Haren.

The Twins, meanwhile, appear to be in full rebuild mode, as they apparently have also begun taking offers for closer Joe Nathan.

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