Great Moment in Fake Trade Rumors From Teen Reporters Who Aren’t Reporters

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That’s in all caps because I assume it will be a running feature that requires a formal title.

In case you missed it — and God, I hope you did — someone who styles themselves a teenage “baseball insider” tweeted a fake “Matt Kemp traded to the Orioles for Bud Norris and Dylan Bundy” thing late last night. In the past this sort of thing would probably be totally ignored, but with the emergence of MLB Daily Dish’s then-in-high-school Chris Cotillo last year — who actually reports stuff — and that flukey scoop on the Billy Butler signing by those young kids not too long ago — the idea of a 14-year-old kid getting a big piece of transactional news is not beyond the scope of plausibility, even if this one was phony.

Thus, on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, actual people who would be required to write quickly about such rumors were, presumably, on the phone with their sources, trying to figure it out and then, later, when it turned out to be fake, grumbling about it all on Twitter. Some thoughts:

  • As we’ve noted many, many times around here, a huge percentage of the real transaction news comes from a handful of reporters whose business it is to get those things. We may question whether any one scoop along those lines is valuable, but the fact is that certain folks — Heyman, Olney, Rosenthal and others with pretty recognizable names to people who care about such things — specialize in this. And, if someone else breaks such news, you can be assured that in very short order, one of those guys will confirm it with their own source. So, with the full understanding that we all find trade and free agent rumors fun and really like to talk about them when they happen, perhaps we shan’t go crazy about any rumor unless it comes from one of those guys.
  • While putting out fake trade “news” is pretty weak sauce, 14-year-old boys are made up of about 79% weak sauce. Think about the stupid crap you did when you were 14 and thank God that there wasn’t an entire segment of the media who gave a crap, because boy you’d have been in deep. Which is to say, if you get burnt by a 14-year-old’s “news” to the point where you publicly and seriously take them to task for it, how in the hell would you have reacted back in the day when 14-year-olds would simply make prank calls? I sort of feel like, back then, a newspaper would not have issued an editorial about the perils of being asked if your refrigerator was running, so maybe now nothing more than an eye roll is in order now too.
  • Finally, as I always do at these times, allow me to remind everyone that news like trades and free agent signings are, by definition, commodity news that will get out eventually and thus the need for people to have it first — be it reporters who fight to get it first or readers to read about it ASAP — is not as great as we have all been led to believe. Breathe a bit and worry more about what that kind of news means, not where it came from first. Besides, eventually the media will be entirely bypassed by this stuff anyway, with teams and players reporting it directly, so let’s get used to that world.

Now, let us all calm down and focus on the important things in life. Like why a baseball player who hit damn near 800 home runs won’t make the Hall of Fame again this year.

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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