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Clearing Something Up About Offseason Rumors

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Over the coming weeks, you're going to hear a lot about how certain teams are listening to offers for certain players, and how certain other players are untouchable. We've already been told that the Tigers are listening to offers for Edwin Jackson, the Blue Jays are listening to offers for Roy Halladay, the Marlins are listening to offers for Ricky Nolasco, and on and on. Meanwhile, the Braves supposedly aren't listening to offers for Tommy Hanson. The media is going to report that some big names are available for trade, while other big names are not.

Ignore all that stuff. It's meaningless.

Here's the bottom line: every team will listen to offers for every player at any time. To listen to an offer doesn't mean you have to initiate anything or even actively participate in conversation. All listening to an offer entails is holding the phone to your ear while another guy talks to you. That's it. It's a zero-risk activity, with the possible upside that the GM on the other end will offer more than your player is worth. And when you're faced with an all-upside/no-downside opportunity, it doesn't make sense to turn it down. Of course the Tigers are listening to offers for Curtis Granderson. Why wouldn't they? What benefit would there be to telling other teams not to bother?

And as far as a situation like Hanson's is concerned...the only difference here is that the team is being more private. If someone were to call the Braves and make an offer, Frank Wren wouldn't tell him to shut up. Just in case, he'd hear him out. He'd hear him out, because there's no such thing as "untouchable" - for any given player in the league, there exists a trade package that could lure him away, and as such every player is always available for the right price. It's just that some have such a high price that the odds of their being traded are effectively zero. Tommy Hanson almost certainly isn't going to be traded, because he's really good and really cheap and really young, but as long as you can envision a scenario in which Andrew Friedman gets desperate for pitching and offers, I dunno, Evan Longoria, then Hanson isn't untouchable. He's just expensive.

If a team is said to be listening to offers for some of its big-name players, then that isn't news. That's always happening, whether it's reported or not. And if a team is said to not be listening to offers for some of its big-name players, that isn't news either, because they are listening, and only suggesting that they aren't to give their players and fans some peace of mind. Jack Zduriencik has indicated that Felix won't get dealt this winter, but do you really believe he's off the table entirely? Of course not. He's just trying to keep Felix content and the fans relieved. If someone calls and offers an incredible package, then Jack will be able to sell it as something the team simply couldn't pass up.

There's no benefit to making certain players untouchable. None. And though a lot of GMs do a lot of weird things, none of them are complete idiots. For the right price, everybody - everybody - is always available.