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Playing Telephone

Earlier Saturday, the following passage from MLB Trade Rumors caused something of a stir. In jotting down notes from Buster Olney's latest column:

The team most interested in Fielder -- and most willing to pay big -- is the Mariners. The question is whether or not he wants to play in Seattle.

Wow, that is very interesting! We haven't heard anything like this before. The Mariners might have a better shot than we've thought. Just to confirm, though, I pulled up Olney's original article. The following blockquote comes from behind the Insider pay wall, which I don't like to do, but hopefully nobody minds in this instance. Quote:

Only Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, knows what offers have been made for the first baseman, but the most interested team -- the team most willing to pay big -- might be the Seattle Mariners. Whether Fielder wants to play for the Mariners is a separate question.

And now we see the difference. And there is a huge, huge difference between "might be" and "is". Olney might have been speculating. He stopped short of declaring anything as fact. MLB Trade Rumors took his idea and declared it as fact, which significantly warps the message.

I'm not going to sit here and accuse MLB Trade Rumors of being sloppy. They're constantly pushing new content, and this is an easy mistake to make if you're rushing. But there's a difference between what they reported and what Buster Olney reported, and Olney's was the original report. The Mariners might be the team most committed to signing Prince Fielder. But they also might not be, and so we don't know any more today than we did yesterday, or the day before.