The protracted nature of baseball’s offseason makes it the best offseason of America’s major sports, but it’s not for everybody. The sheer amount of BS and posturing can waste a ton of time and emotional energy, and some people just have better things to do.
I, for one, don’t. Granted, part of it stems from self-interest during a long winter, but I genuinely enjoy gauging and threading the rumors. Crime procedurals and televised poker don’t connect with me, so I suppose this is my channel for low-stakes sleuthing.
And boy howdy, the Jose Quintana rumor mill is peak rumor mill. On Tuesday, it had two credible baseball reporters relaying conflicting — but not necessarily contradictory -- information within one minute of each other.
The USA Today’s Bob Nightengale had reported on Tuesday morning that the Yankees were trying to rope in David Robertson during their discussions with the White Sox over Jose Quintana. Nightengale then followed up on his initial report, but left Robertson out of it:
One minute later, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman came through with this:
The initial report about Robertson was probably flimsy from the start. Besides Sherman, MLB.com and the New York Daily News also poured water on it, and so I’m guessing Nightengale omitted Robertson from his subsequent report for a reason.
But the Yankees’ true interest in Quintana has yet to be determined. Nightengale has a history of leaking the White Sox’ agenda, and it’s in the White Sox’ interest to have a very active Yankees team involved in the proceedings, so a second source is needed to really start considering it.
That doesn’t mean Nightengale is trafficking in lies. Unlike the Chris Sale trade market, which primarily involved 2016 postseason teams, the teams connected to Quintana can all make feasible arguments for holding off. The Astros are best positioned to immediately benefit from Quintana, but projections already like them in the AL West. The Yankees might want to amass prospects for one more year, and the Pirates could regroup around their own farm system, even if it results in a step back.
The great thing about Quintana is that he improves a team’s viability for four years, diminishing the present-day concerns that usually drive every trade. Nevertheless, everybody involved can play hard-to-get until somebody acts as an accelerant.
The Yankees have done their best to stay out of it. ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand called a trade “unlikely,” YES report Jack Curry used “slim,” and Buster Olney (a former Yankee beat writer) downplayed New York’s interest, saying the teams hadn’t discussed Quintana “in weeks.”
Given this history, I initially interpreted Sherman’s tweet to be another flat Quintana denial. Then I looked again and say that it pertained to “Quintana/Robertson,” not Quintana himself. Does this mean the Yankees are in on Quintana himself, and the inclusion of Robertson provides a smokescreen? Who knows. Are you not entertained? That’s another rhetorical question. Don’t interrupt me, I’m watching my stories.