The thing about baseball’s annual Winter Meetings is, everyone is trying to get the scoop. So much so that when something — anything — deemed newsworthy hits the rumor mill, a hundred different baseball journalists hanging out in a hotel lobby scramble to their smart phones to tweet it out first. That way, you know, they get credit for the scoop — and therefore, presumably, they increase their credibility. What a life.
Take the “news” this morning about Japanese All-Star shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.
Two hours ago (at precisely 9:18 a.m. Texas time), FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi credited his co-worker Ken Rosenthal (or is that “threw him under the bus”?) by sending out this tweet:
#SFGiants appear to have submitted posting bid on SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, sources tell @Ken_Rosenthal and me.
Within minutes, San Jose Mercury News writer Andrew Baggarly (9:25 a.m.) jumped on it, followed by San Francisco Chronicle writer John Shea (9:33 a.m.), followed by Comcast SportsNet’s Jaymee Sire (9:47 a.m.). MLB Trade Rumors posted the report at 9:21 a.m., just three minutes after Morosi’s original tweet. (Now visualize the scene in the hotel lobby…)
All of this is great for bloggers like me. It’s like having your own AP Wire service — for free.
But with the good comes the bad, and just 30 minutes after Morosi “scooped” everybody, Shea was sending out a retraction of sorts:
I’m told report that #SFGiants apparently submitted bit on SS Nakajima is not accurate.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “So which is it? Did the Giants really post a bid on Nakajima or not? And who the hell is this Nakajima cat anyway?”
Well, that’s the thing about Twitter and the Winter Meetings. Nothing’s official until someone uses the word “official.” Terms like “apparently,” “I’m told” and “it’s being reported” aren’t used in press releases.
So, until it’s official, it’s just a rumor by some journalist hoping to gain credibility. Ironic as that sounds.
As for Nakajima, here’s what we do know:
The 29-year old shortstop hit .297/.354/.433 with 27 doubles, 16 HR and 100 RBI in 633 plate appearances for the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2011. The right-handed batter is a career .302 hitter and has averaged 18 homers a year (in eight full seasons with the Lions). He’s got decent speed (he stole 25 bases in 2008). He was Japan’s top offensive star when they won the 2009 World Baseball Classic and finished second behind Jimmy Rollins for WBC All-Tourney honors at shortstop.
Baggarly goes on to say in his blog that only one Major League Baseball team submitted a bid for Nakajima, and that the Lions will take the highest bid, no matter what it is. (In other words, if Brian Sabean bid one dollar to negotiate with Seibu, he’s a friggin’ genius.) Of course, a contract would still have to be hammered out for Nakajima.
If in fact today’s reports are true, and the Giants end up winning the bid on Nakajima, they would have 30 days to negotiate with Seibu for his services.
If the reports are false, well I’m sure Morosi, Rosenthal, et al will feed us all some more “news” soon enough.
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