A few days ago, Jon Heyman dropped this little nugget into a larger trade deadline article:
At the time, I largely dismissed the rumor, simply because the words “big proposal” have been thrown around a lot lately regarding packages headlined by players such as Ivan Nova. However, Jayson Stark seemed to add some context to that tidbit with the following whopper:
They say they want a bat for the bench and bullpen help, and that is true. But they can’t resist big-game hunting. They tried hard for Lee and Haren, and made a big proposal for Royals closer Joakim Soria, as well.
When this story was brought to me attention on Twitter, I told anybody who would listen that the offer never took place. Brian Cashman would be extremely unlikely to give up Montero for a reliever, and even Dayton Moore is not quite dumb enough to turn that deal down. After the journalistic debacle that was the Dan Haren saga, my distrust meter was on high and I wondered how such a story could get started. Luckily, an intrepid commenter at RAB deciphered what occured. Evan 3457 noted that in the chat below Stark’s article, he added the following:
Lots of Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria rumors flying in Kansas City. But teams we’ve surveyed say they see no sign that either is going anywhere. The Yankees just made another run at Soria, as first reported by SI.com — even dangling Jesus Montero. But the Royals weren’t interested.
“It sounds as if” seems to suggest that Stark is not really sure, and that he does not have concrete information to that effect. So how did he reach that conclusion? Let’s let Evan 3457 finish the point:
“I think you’re misreading the Yankees on Montero, Anton. They’re not hell-bent to move him. They’re just deeper in catchers than at any other position. They can’t move him to first base because Mark Teixeira has that covered. They don’t want to clog up their DH position long-term because they need to use it for their aging players. But they’re only going to trade him for a star type player. They offered him for Cliff Lee but nor for Haren. And it sounds as if they told the Royals they’d talk about him for Soria. But that’s it — so far.”
The fact that Stark actually references the SI/Heyman story in his report seems to fit with this conclusion. I have no way of knowing whether this is true, but it certainly seems more logical to me than the idea that the Yankees offered Montero to KC and were rebuffed. If it turns out that Stark actually has a source and “it sounds as if” was just a turn of phrase of some sort, I apologize in advance. But if he was simply taking the word “big” from Heyman’s report and assuming Montero, or had another uncertain source and reported it as definitive fact, that seems a bit irresponsible to me. It is also indicative of the unstable nature of the rumors that we hear. As this little example and the entire NBA free agency saga illustrates, just because something is reported by a mainstream writer does not make it accurate.
OK, so now that TSJ traced the Montero/Soria report back to Heyman, now I know why Stark said “it sounds as if”, because Heyman’s report said “big proposal”.
Stark is assuming the “big proposal” includes Montero, who’s never explicitly mentioned by Heyman in that offer.