FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal issued a mea culpa this morning for the strong wording he chose to use Saturday on FOX when he stated unequivocally that Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton, "...will be traded. You can trust me on that." Though the bow-tied reporter still thinks Tampa Bay will trade the 26-year-old outfielder, Mr. Rosenthal admits what everyone who gets sucked into this season of anonymous sources, people with knowledge of events and people familiar other's thinking, already knows, "Executives often send mixed messages to downplay expectations or disguise their intentions. Not even the best reporters know exactly what is happening behind the scenes."
With that in mind. The word out of Washington, or more accurately, Los Angeles, last night was that Ian Desmond was a "core" member of the Nationals' franchise, who wasn't likely to be going anywhere this week. "If Desmond puts it all together in one season for another team," a "source" told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Desmond likely to stay put with Nationals", then the Nats, "...would look foolish for trading Desmond."
"Rizzo considers Desmond part of the Nationals’ future core group," Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nationals trade deadline: Ryan Zimmerman on B.J. Upton, updates on Ian Desmond, Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez," and the WaPost writer quoted the Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo saying, "'we’ve made it pretty clear we’re not moving core pieces.'"
Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan's sources, however, tell him that, "The Nationals are actively shopping SS Ian Desmond, with San Francisco and Boston among the teams showing interest. Good fit for TB, too," and Mr. Passan followed up on that tweet with another report on Twitter (@JeffPassan) that, "Shopping Desmond is [Stephen] Lombardozzi-related. Rizzo loves him."
In the "Updates on Nine" section of his weekly Sunday baseball column, Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo says the Nats' All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard is, "One of the more sought-after relievers on the market," with Texas, Atlanta, New York (AL) and Boston all interested in the 26-year-old right-hander. "The Braves, looking for a veteran presence at the end of their bullpen, are interested," Mr. Cafardo writes, "but it’s unlikely the Nationals would trade within the division."
Mr. Cafardo also reports that the Nationals, "are considering offering the moon," for the aforementioned Rays' outfielder, B.J. Upton. "Some of the Nationals people feel Upton could use a change of scenery where his talents would be maximized," Mr. Cafardo writes while noting, as most articles on the subject do, Upton's connection to the Nats' face of the franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, who "some" feel, "would be a good influence on Upton, a good guy whose effort is inconsistent."
For his part, Upton responded, in St. Petersburg Times' writer Marc Tompkin's article entitled, "B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Rays try not to let trade rumors affect them", to reports like those by FOXSports.com's Mr. Rosenthal and ESPN.com's Buster Olney by saying that he's used to it and even jokes with teammate James Shields, himself a frequent name mentioned in rumors:
"'It's been (like this) the last two years so I guess there's nothing I can do about it,' Upton said. 'If that's what they want to do, that's up to them. It's totally out of my hands.'"
Rays' Skipper Joe Maddon reacted to the frenzy his decision to lift Upton from a game this weekend caused and the constant rumors about Rays' players by telling Mr. Tompkin that, "It is what it is..." with the Rays on the outside looking in on the playoffs there will be rumors, and, "'(Executive VP Andrew Friedman) is always looking to make us better, there's always different guys' names involved.'"
Later this morning, Mr. Tompkin, the St. Petersburg Times' and Tampa Bay.com Rays writer reported on Twitter this (@SPTimesRays) that Upton would not be playing for Tampa Bay today, "Rev up your rumors," he wroted, "Upton not in #Rays lineup today." Later he noted that, "Upton was told last night he'd be off today: 'It's just a day off. At least I hope it is.'"
The MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is one week away...