Hot Stove Glossary

After grappling with hundreds (if not thousands) of hot stove reports during the ’08 Winter Meetings, I’m attempting to define the commonplace phrases and terms.  As frustrating as this jargon can be, the hard-working baseball journalists who bring us the rumors and inside information must be applauded.

  • official – Doesn’t get misused – a deal is only official if a team announces it.
  • done deal – Should be reserved for deals that are truly complete, yet someone jumps the gun with it weekly.  See also: finalized
  • set to sign/acquire – One step below the done deal.  Doesn’t leave much wiggle room.  See also: on the verge, on the brink, tentative agreement
  • close to a deal – This trade or signing is likely, but I’m leaving some wiggle room.  See also: nearing a deal, closing in on
  • working to sign/acquire – Things are coming along positively, but I’m not ready to call it close.  See also: escalated, making progress, heating up, stepped up efforts
  • in discussions – They’re talking, but I’m not making any promises.
  • life support – Faint chance of this deal occurring – I’m not ready to call it dead.
  • dead – Should be reserved for talks with 0% chance of being revisited, yet we frequently see dead talks "resurrected."
  • inquired – One party called another to ask about something or express interest.  The party receiving the inquiry may have zero interest.
  • internal discussions – Rarely misused.  Front office guys from one team are talking amongst themselves about something.
  • shopping – Implies a GM is aggressively calling other teams to try to find a trade partner for a player.  GMs seem to dread the word because it makes them lose leverage.  Also applies to an agent trying to find a team to sign his free agent.
  • believed to be – Meaningless phrase, yet a popular way to hedge.  Can be combined with phrases above for a double hedge.  See also: appear to be, seem to be, apparently
  • Did I miss something?  Let me know in the comments.

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