Rumors are plentiful near trade deadline
Updated 7/26/2006 2:39 AM ET
By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY
Detroit Tigers general manager David Dombrowski simply laughed, knowing there was little substance to the trade report but realizing it's simply the nature of business this time of year.
The latest trade rumor had the Chicago White Sox on the brink of acquiring slugger Alfonso Soriano from the Washington Nationals, the same player the Tigers have targeted.
The White Sox vehemently denied they were close. The Tigers, in fact, are still talking to the Nationals. And when Dombrowski awoke Tuesday morning, Soriano hadn't gone anywhere.
"It's amazing the stuff you hear this time of year," Dombrowski said. "I generally don't believe what I read and hear. I read so many things about us that I know that are inaccurate, I take it for granted things about other teams are wrong too.
"I've never understood what the benefit is of saying what you're trying to achieve, anyway. If you play poker, you don't want to show everybody your cards, do you?"
Yet when division rivals such as the White Sox and Tigers seek the same player in trade talks, the juicier the rumors and higher the stakes. To complicate matters, many division contenders are seeking the same player these days.
Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who is listening to offers for Carlos Lee, said rivals from various divisions have expressed interest in the power-hitting outfielder.
Three of the top teams in the NL West — the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers — have had talks with the Chicago Cubs about starter Greg Maddux.
"I'm sure when that news got out about Soriano," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, "it caught the attention of the Tigers and Twins. It might be a case where all three of those teams just hope that he goes to the Angels. I wouldn't put it past some of my counterparts to slip a trade rumor out there just to raise the stakes.
"A few clubs have surprised me calling for Carlos (Lee). I'm not sure if they're interested, but they're in the same division and want to make sure that if somebody else gets him, they're paying a steeper price."
Said Dombrowski: "You keep a close eye on what everybody is doing. You don't want to see teams getting better that you're competing against, but you have to determine what value you're going to pay for someone and don't overpay."
John Schuerholz, vice president and general manager of the Atlanta Braves who suddenly finds his team in the wild-card race, said he tries not to get preoccupied with the competition. Not this year. Not when 23 teams entered Tuesday night within five games of the division or wild-card lead.
"I've never seen anything like it," Schuerholz said. "There are so many teams in the race, you can't worry about everyone, and I can't control what the 29 other clubs do.
"Our game is so public now. So much information is shared and spread. And once it hits the airwaves, it takes on a life of its own. I'm from the old school. I'm not into text messaging or blogging or learning baseball from the Internet. We just don't operate that way. The less people know what we're thinking internally, the better we are.
"I'm going to do what we've done in the past, keep my blinders on and do what's best for the Braves."