For example, on Friday, at least two non-credible web sources said that the Atlanta Braves were in discussions with the St. Louis Cardinals to trade their first baseman Freddie Freeman. One went as far as asserting the sides were “close” on a deal. This came on the heels of the Braves dealing away their shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, the day before.
On Friday, I checked with Georgia radio personality and my Scout.com Braves counterpart, Bill Shanks. His source was very clear.
“These rumors linking Freddie Freeman to St. Louis are not true.”
On Sunday, the rumor popped up again, but from a very well-known source this time. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted an article that included this statement.
“Officials from three different clubs told me that the Braves have indeed shopped first baseman Freddie Freeman, with one saying such a possibility was “the talk of the (Arizona) Fall League” among scouts about 10 days ago.”
That same evening, Braves beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution checked with his Braves sources.
“I asked again about Freeman and Teheran, was told no talks and no intentions to move either of them.”
Questioned on Twitter about the apparent conflict between his report and that of Rosenthal’s, O’Brien checked his hole card again, this time quoting Atlanta general manager John Coppolella directly.
“#Braves Coppolella when asked just now specifically about new Freeman rumor: ‘We have not had any trade discussions on Freddie Freeman.’”
Some skeptical Braves fans don’t know if they can believe their team executives. O’Brien replied to such a query while noting the GM did not deny when Simmons was on the block earlier.
“I can’t blame u. Can only tell u response when GM answers question directly.(He didn’t refute Simmons talks last wk)”
On Twitter, Rosenthal suggested both reporters’ accounts could somehow be right.
“@bradjohnson757 @DOBrienAJC We both could be accurate. Making him available and engaging in talks not the same thing.”
Sorry, Ken. I am not questioning your original report, but I am definitely questioning your subsequent logic.
I get that officials sometimes play word games to avoid having to answer questions honestly, but there is no wiggle room here.
Rosenthal said Freeman had been “shopped”. Coppolella (through O’Brien) said, “We have not had any trade discussions on Freddie Freeman”. That covers the past and present.
Unless the shopping was completely ignored by the other 29 teams, those statements are in direct conflict.
“Shopped” by definition means the Braves made other clubs aware of Freeman’s potential availability.
What would be the next step?
Dialogue, of course.
There is no way if a player of Freeman’s quality has been thrown out that there would not have been any interest expressed by and information exchanged with at least one of the 29 other MLB teams.
To suggest there were no discussions about this player – if he was shopped – just stretches credulity.
Given Rosenthal’s reputation, I expect he will dig deeper and report further.
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