I’ve always wondered how trade talks actually happen. Who calls who first? Are the conversations frank or is there this whole dance like when you go to buy a used car or something? Thankfully Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo writes a column over at MASN today explaining how it all goes down.
After reading it it’s rather obvious, but it had never occurred to me that tips — from scouts and stuff, passing along word that Team X is looking for a lefty, for example — play a big part of it. Something I was aware of but which Rizzo really stresses is the idea of keeping notes of all of conversations with the other GMs throughout the year and that sort of thing. Intelligence gathering, if you will.
A lot of us would like to think that we could run a team if given the chance — and seeing Dayton Moore flail around in Kansas City only gives us more confidence — but when you read stuff like this you realize that actual player evaluation is such a small part of what the GM does, and even then he has people for that.
The soft game — talking to people, extracting information without seeming to be extracting information, remembering stuff, pressing the flesh, listening to your sources and knowing which of them to trust and which of them not to — is a gigantic part of that. And not many people are good at that sort of thing.