Guide To Rumor Lingo

With the winter meetings kicking off today, you’re going to see a ton of rumors fly the next few days. Some of them will have basis in the truth, while others make you question the sanity of the person reporting it as news. But all of them will rely on anonymous sourcing, as the only way for writers to get information from the teams is to agree to not reveal where the information came from. The need to hide the identity of the source while simultaneously giving the reader enough reason to believe it is credible has led to the birth of a new language, which can be confusing for people not familiar with the lingo. So, to help you get through all the rumors, I present a handy english translation of baseball rumor related terms.

A Person Familiar With The Negotiations – Someone who has refreshed constantly.

Major League Source – Charlie Sheen.

A Source With Knowledge Of The Player’s Thoughts – The player’s agent.

A Baseball Official – An engineer at Rawlings.

Guy Who Gave Jon Heyman His Information – Scott Boras.

Try to keep these relationships in mind when you’re reading that “a major league source” has indicated that the Indians are considering sending Grady Sizemore to Washington for Cristian Guzman and a player to be named later.

Kidding aside, though, there are some good reporters out there – Ken Rosenthal rarely gets stuff wrong, for instance. But this time of year, there’s always misinformation flowing, and you have to be careful about getting too worked over any certain rumor. Don’t take any one report too seriously. If there’s something to it, it will get confirmed fairly quickly.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

13 Responses to “Guide To Rumor Lingo”

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  1. Rich in NJ says:

    What’s really going on is that most media types are susceptible to being spun, as agents and GMs seek to further their negotiating interests. Rosenthal has been as guilty as most of his colleagues.

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  2. 2nd Half Adjustment says:

    Also, whenever a GM says, “We have no interest/have had no conversations about Player X,” the team most certainly has had discussions about moving/wants to move Player X.

    See: Williams, Kenny of the Chicago White Sox and Bobby Jenks.

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  3. philosofool says:

    “The Braves want to move Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez, but not Kenshin Kawakami.”

    Since this is obviously true, the M’s should deal Jose Lopez to get Vazquez and screw this talk of Harden. Can someone tweet that a source inside the sabermetric community has speculated that the M’s and Braves are talking about a deal involving J. Vazquez, J. Lopez, and “some other players”?

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  4. Logan says:

    Haha. Dave, can you do about 30 more terms, so I can link this to my friends who read MLBTR but not sabermetric blogs?

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  5. JoeR43 says:

    Biggest douchebag at the meetings- Jon Heyman

    I added a subset to one of those for you, Dave.

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  6. Christo says:

    And every one of those sources has more credibility than anything offered by Phil Rogers.

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  7. B-Chad says:

    This article is great. I’m glad to see some Jon Heyman clowning, as I distinctly remember him reporting on the MLB trade deadline that the player the Yankees dealt for Jerry Hairston Jr. was Austin Jackson. He later stated that he only heard whispers about Jackson being the player.

    Jon Heyman = clown shoes

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    • Joser says:

      The list of Heyman facepalms is long and legendary. My favorite is still the time he saw Yuniesky Betancourt play the field in exactly one game and, on that basis, proclaimed him the new default AL shortstop gold glove recipient. (Granted, that would be displacing Jeter and his often-dubious default status with the same award, but still: one game!)

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