Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about “listening aggressively,” “progressing past just talking,” and other winter rumor terminology, contemplate what the “virtual Winter Meetings” look like, then break down several rumored or completed trades or signings, including Lance Lynn and Adam Eaton to the White Sox, Raisel Iglesias to the Angels, Carlos Santana and Mike Minor to the Royals, and James McCann to the Mets (touching on the competitive pictures for the Rangers, Royals, and Reds), plus a listener email about heckling José Bautista.
- White Sox acquisition of Lance Lynn (by trade from the Rangers) and Adam Eaton (free agent), and how that affects both the White Sox and Rangers
- Royals signed Carlos Santana and Mike Minor, and how that fits into their team
- Mets are rumored to be on the verge of acquiring James McCann (reportedly for four years, which is more than most people expected), and how that fits into their team
- Impact of the rise of robot umps on catcher acquisition decisions
- Identifying and obtaining closure on a José Bautista heckling incident
- Buster Olney wrote that Cleveland was "prepared to listen aggressively" to Francisco Lindor trade offers, what does that even mean? Other rumor-related phrases are discussed through the remainder of the episode.
- What are the "Virtual Winter Meetings" like? Are they on Zoom calls? If the owners are just sending text messages to each other, well, that's what they do all year anyway.
- Dylan: I recently came across this great exchange between a heckler and Jose Bautista. I'm dying to know what Bautista did in his next AB. The scoreboard is at least partially visible. Do you think there's any way to get to the bottom of what happened next?
- Ben and Meg are baffled by the phrase "listening aggressively". As an editor, Meg does appreciate the effort to vary the wording.
- Ben and Meg acknowledge that when doing a podcast, they sometimes focus on what they're going to say next and don't listen closely to what the other person is saying. When editing the podcast, Ben hears things that he missed during recording. This is most common during interviews, when Ben is worried about who has the next question, or how he's going to segue to the next topic.
- Ben notes that covering the Winter Meetings consists in part of going out to dinner, and getting a message that some transaction has occurred, and having to leave in order to cover it.
- Meg and the FanGraphs crew held a Winter Meetings Virtual Cocktail Hour, linked below.
- People wondered why the Rangers didn't trade Lynn before the 2020 trade deadline. Lynn reportedly let the Rangers know that if he were traded at the deadline to a team he didn't like, he would opt out of the rest of the season. This effectively made him untradeable, since no team would want to trade for a player who might not play for them.
- Ben and Meg both wish for a documentary on the White Sox/Drake LaRoche story.
- Meg figures that the White Sox are strong enough that Adam Eaton isn't going to make a big difference.
- Ben recalls a report that the Blue Jays and George Springer had "progressed beyond just talking". Meg struggles to resist the urge to make a "when a team and a player love each other very much" joke.
- Meg wants somebody to do a deep dive on romance and dating-related language in trade rumors. Sam did an article on the phrase "drawing interest" where he literally made drawings.
- Phrases used to describe the McCann deal include "getting close with him", "details are still being worked out", "talk is serious", "will be surprised if it doesn't get done".
- Robot umps are probably still a few years out, so teams need to hire traditional catchers for a few more years, at least at the MLB level. Minor league catchers, maybe not so much, because robot umps may become reality by the time they hit the big leagues.
José Bautista video
- In the video, the heckler shouts, "What's that in your back pocket, dude? Is that your checkbook?" Ben and Meg believe it's a sliding mitt.
- The heckler continues, "You know what you got? Everything but a base hit tonight!"
- Bautista comes back with the zinger, "My checkbook won't fit in my back pocket."
- Meg: "My main take-away from this is we should not let people drink in public." Ben notes drunken heckling is not particularly clever.
- It didn't take Ben too long to find the game: It was the game played the night before the video was posted.
- What makes the heckle worse is that it's not even correct. Bautista had an RBI single earlier in the game. You can hear another fan pointing this out in the video. (Mind you, Bautista struck out in every other plate appearance in the game up until that point.)
- The game was tied in the top of the ninth. Sadly, Bautista lined into an inning-ending double play. The White Sox won in 11.
- Meg points out that the Jays got the last laugh, since they won the division in 2015 with a 93–69 record, and the White Sox finished 76–86.
- Meg says it is more acceptable to heckle up than down, i.e., for a fan of a bad team to heckle a player from a good team. Heckling a player from a bad team is just mean.
- Episode 1627: For Your Aggressive Listening Pleasure
- Lindor report
- Springer report
- Sam on “drawing interest”
- FanGraphs Twitch happy hour
- Craig Edwards on the Lynn trade
- Ken Rosenthal report about Lynn
- Tony Wolfe on the Eaton signing
- Ben Clemens on the Santana signing
- Jay Jaffe on the Iglesias trade
- Story about McCann’s framing makeover
- Story about McCann’s improved framing
- Bautista video