An Offseason Classic: The Silly Trade Rumor

Every winter, you hear about those trade rumors that are just outright ludicrous. Rumors that you immediately respond to with a friendly, "What are they, stupid?" And given that I'm fairly confident that you can't be that dumb and land a high-responsibility role with an MLB team, there are basically two ways to look at these rumors: they don't actually want to trade the guy, or some reporter's anonymous source was, you know, just joshin'.

We've already seen numerous rumors this offseason that aren't really believable (like Werth landing $126 million, am I right??), and I thought we could touch on a few of them today. This isn't to mock any of these reporters, most of whom do an exceptional job and presumably were doing the same here. Rather, I'm just trying to figure out who thought that the Nationals might trade Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmerman for James Loney in the first place.

And I suppose that's a good place for us to start.

The Dodgers asked the Nationals for shortstop Ian Desmond and right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmerman in exchange for first baseman James Loney

At least, that's what Nats beat writer Bill Ladson tweeted yesterday. And I'm not sure I get this rumor on any level. Sure, the Nationals are on the prowl looking to replace Adam Dunn at first...   but Desmond AND Zimmerman for two years of Loney, who's already due to make $4-5M in 2011? And beyond that, what would LA do with Desmond given that they already have Furcal, Uribe and Carroll on the MLB team, along with Ivan DeJesus Jr., Chin Lung Hu and Dee Gordon in the upper minors? Seems like this rumor is off, or LA decided that they'd just make some wacky, illogical request because they don't want to deal Loney in the first place.

The Justin Upton trade frenzy

Sorry, but these rumors seemed crazy right from the beginning. In the end, they proved to be somewhat true, although it seems that Arizona's interest in moving him was overstated initially. It appears, at this point, that Upton's only moving for an overwhelming offer. And given how valuable Upton should be in the next five years, I'm not really sure what an overwhelming return would even look like.

Just think about what this rumor really was: A mediocre team reportedly looking to deal a 23-year-old who had just put up nearly 8 WAR total in his age-21 and age-22 seasons combined that's under contract long-term at a reasonable price. Did people actually think that some team was going to meet Arizona's asking price? It would be like the Miguel Cabrera frenzy of a couple years ago, except the player would actually be under contract long-term.

The Phillies' interest in a Carlos Quentin trade

I just don't really get this one. The Phillies already have a young outfielder in Domonic Brown that's got huge upside with both the bat and the glove, but according to a mid-November report from Jayson Stark, they had been laying the groundwork for a deal that would bring White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin to Philly. And I just don't get why the Phillies would want Quentin at this point. It's not that he's a bad hitter- the .240/.334/.469 line he's posted over the two years is nearly 10% above the league average, and it's easy to forget that he put up MVP-like numbers in 2008. But he's a pretty horrid defender, with a UZR/150 near -30 over the past two seasons, and he'd be replacing Jayson Werth, who's a pretty damn good defender. I just don't know why the Phillies would be willing to give up talent and spend around $5 million in order to land what could be a 25-run downgrade defensively, even if the offensive potential is tantalizing.

Marlins wanted Martin Prado for Dan Uggla

That's what David O'Brien reported a few weeks ago, and he's pretty in-the-know concerning the Braves. I'm guessing that Florida realized Prado-for-Uggla wasn't exactly a fair suggestion, and moved to trade him for Omar Infante and Michael Dunn instead. I mean, who expected that the Braves wouldn't want to give up three years of Prado (7.0 WAR in 2009/2010) for one year of Uggla (7.9 WAR in 2009/2010)? I suppose it's nice that they asked and all, but it's easy to forget that Prado is actually a really good player.

When Marlins tried to hire Ozzie Guillen from Chicago, the White Sox asked for Logan Morrison as compensation

What did you expect, Chicago would just hand Ozzie over? As someone who grew up in Chicago, I can safely say that the White Sox, and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in particular, are huge fans of Guillen. So when the Chicago Tribune reported that the White Sox asked for one of Florida's best young players in exchange for letting Guillen, I wasn't as surprised as some in other parts of the country presumably were. And when Jon Heyman repeated the rumor in mid-November, it seemed to reinforce that these discussions did in fact occur on some level. This is just one of those rumors that's so unbelievable that it almost had to be true. And if the White Sox did in fact get to land Morrison for Ozzie.. well, I'd have to say that would please me as a Chicago fan.

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