Shell Game

Trade Speculation. A favorite pastime of baseball fans this time of year. We all try to get into the heads of GM’s around the league and figure out what their next move is. Names start popping up all over the place and we start mentally inserting them into our favorite teams’ lineup or rotation. Matt Garza, Alex Rios, Jesse Crain, Giancarlo and on and on. We start looking at teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Trying to figure out if Player A fits on Team B is an entertaining exercise.
I truly love this time of year, because of the excitement it brings, especially when your favorite team is a contender. The idea that a big bat from some wasteland is going to come in and provide the home runs that put your team over the top is great. We run through all of the scenarios that have been floated on Twitter and the internet.

However, there a few important things to remember about the trade deadline and all the rumors that get floated, especially when it comes to Major League Baseball. Most of the trade rumors floated on Twitter are false. Teams love to throw out disinformation to try to keep their plans as secret as possible. More than 50% of the rumors are wild speculation. The fake Twitter accounts start popping up like the fake Danny Knobler account earlier today. We also can’t forget the classic stylings of Scott Swaim, appearing soon behind a keyboard near you.  In the past week there have been rumors about players being traded that are on first place teams, rumors about MVP caliber players on contenders being moved and simply people throwing anything against the wall to see if it will stick. That’s all fine and dandy, just take most of it with a grain of salt. Anything can happen if the price is right, but more times than not, it isn’t.

As far as the Rangers are concerned, JD and Thad are the masters of the smoke screen. Most of the deadline deals have been shocks to our system. Cliff Lee came out of nowhere and Bengie Molina was a surprise. There are several other moves that JD, Thad & Co. have pulled off that caught everyone off guard. Their slight of hand talent is amazing and I was reminded of this two nights ago from our own Peter Ellwood:


Shell Game. If you go back to 2011, almost all of the rumors were about the Rangers and Heath Bell. The Rangers needed bullpen pieces, and Bell was the answer. There was a smattering of Mike Adams rumors, but quickly dismissed by the San Diego media because Adams was considered a cornerstone of the Padres rebuilding plans. He was their next closer. Shell Game.

During the Winter Meetings, there is always a “Mystery Team.” During the trade deadline, it appears the Rangers are that mystery team. In 2010 it was the aforementioned Cliff Lee. 2011 it was Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. Last year it was Geovany Soto and Ryan Dempster. The Rangers were mentioned in the Dempster sweepstakes, but were thought to be out of it until the very last second. Shell Game.

This year, the usual suspects are out there for public consumption. According to reports the Rangers have scouted Garza and others. Just because the Rangers have scouts in Chicago means absolutely nothing as far as one player is concerned. The Rangers may trade for Alex Rios or Matt Garza if the price is right. Or….they may being trying to throw the dogs off of their trail. Shell Game. I for one, am sitting back waiting for JD to surprise me once again.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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