Welcome to the real madness. The last ten days leading up to the trade deadline are always filled with rumors about which team is looking at which players, with reports ranging from informative to sheer speculation. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way of discerning one from the other. Before twitter came along, it wasn’t as big an issue but in a world of instant news, there is a rush to be the first to break the story, not necessarily a rush to be right.
This afternoon provided a great example of the problems facing the fans as we try to sort this thing out.
From Jon Morosi, who knows the Tigers very, very well:
"Spoke with someone today who expressed doubt that the Tigers would end up acquiring Aaron Harang"
Then, a little over an hour later, from former Reds and Nats GM Jim Bowden, who now makes his living as a media member:
"Tigers front-runner to get Harang from Padres for back of rotation"
Morosi’s tweet was largely ignored by the masses, but Rob Neyer of SBN picked up the ball from Bowden and ran with it. Now, if the Tigers don’t end up acquiring Harang, we might never know if Bowden was right or not. I’m certainly not insinuating that he would make up the story because even deals that look like slam dunks can fall apart quickly (remember Cliff Lee all but getting dealt to the Yankees last year?), so there could be some truth to the idea.
We also don’t know where the sources for either report are coming from. I would assume that Morosi, given his history with covering the Tigers, would have the better insight into this situation than Bowden, but you just never know.
As for the idea of getting Harang, well, as Neyer put it:
"Harang’s 3.20 ERA with the Padres this season is deceptive, as his peripheral statistics are nothing special and of course he’s blessed by his home ballpark. As a No. 5 starter, though? He would fit nicely, and would at the least allow management to focus on other roster issues."
I can’t say as I disagree. And his rent-a-player status could mean a lower cost to the Tigers in terms of prospects. Harang shouldn’t figure to be ranked as a free agent, so there would be no added bonus of possible draft pick compensation for the Tigers. This looks like a mid-level prospect or two for two months of a veteran right hander. In my mind, the Tigers could do worse than to end up with Harang.
And there is a possibility that they will get him. Or maybe they won’t. But chances are very good that if they don’t we won’t ever know whether or not the Tigers were truly interested in getting Harang, or if they were simply kicking the tires.