Thursday, April 9, 2009

36 Questions: Trades

Another thing I’ve always wondered about is how a trade gets started. It’s especially interesting when a big name player is involved. How do people know who is available? How do they know what they want? If Theo Epstein is reading, he’s welcome to answer.

For instance, the Red Sox reportedly made an inquiry into Hanley Ramirez earlier in this offseason. Is that how it happens? Do the Red Sox say to themselves that they have a need at short, and just start calling teams to see if, perchance, their player is available? Do they just call the Marlins to ask about Ramirez? Do they call the Phillies every few days, just to see if Rollins happens to become available? Do they call the Yankees about Jeter? Do they scour the local newspapers to see if a player is unwanted by the team? Do teams call Theo every day just to see if for some reason he’d like to trade Pedroia? Do the Cardinals just cold-call Theo and ask about Papelbon’s availability? You know at some price, every member of the team would be tradeable. So, the Cards call out of the blue and ask about Papelbon. Does Theo respond, “Sure…for Pujols?” What if they say OK? Do general managers just call each other every two days to see if anything comes out?
“Hi, Theo. How are things?”
“My leftfielder is driving me nuts. I’d trade him for a new bat at this point.”
“Really…interesting. If you tossed in a couple other players and some cash, maybe I could help”

How does a deal ever come together? There are hundreds of players in any organization. How do you decide which A-ball prospect is worth a back-up outfielder? When you have a chip to trade…say a gold glove caliber center fielder who can run…how do you find a match? Does Theo call every club and ask what they need, hoping one of them says they need an outfielder? Does he look around at teams he thinks need an outfielder and offer him to them? Does he look around for a team that has what he needs…say a middle reliever…and call them with an offer? How does it all work?

And, how does anything ever get done?

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