MLB: Winter Meetings

Modern baseball fans and the burden of too much knowledge

This has been an incredibly dull winter. The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes provided a brief bit of fun, but that was almost an entire month ago with practically nothing happening since. We’ve almost crowned a new national champion in college football and practically none of the top free agents have signed yet. It’s terrible.

This terribleness is amplified tremendously by just how plugged in we all are now. There is no escaping baseball. There is no time away. MLB Network has 24 hours to fill regardless of if things happen or not. Twitter does not sleep and neither shall you. A new site dedicated to your team springs up every day and may be the one truly worth your time. You are drowning in content. You are asphyxiating upon knowledge. This is both a great and a terrible thing.

The average baseball fan is without a doubt more knowledgeable today than they were a decade ago. Hell, they’re streets ahead of where they were five years ago even. There isn’t a season that goes past that doesn’t result in a newer and potentially better way to evaluate what’s happening on the field. They know more about rosters and fringe prospects than anyone in the dial-up era could have ever dreamed of knowing. And this results in tremendous tunnel vision when it comes to viewing one’s favorite team.

Earlier this winter, the White Sox chose not to put left-handed pitching prospect Jordan Guerrero on the 40 man roster. This led to tremendous wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst White Sox Twitter. Guerrero went from being what he is, a fringe prospect whose absolute pie in the sky ceiling is probably that of a fourth starter, to someone Rick Hahn would surely rue letting slip into the hands of a lesser franchise for nothing. Until the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft ended and the other 29 teams decided he wasn’t worth the effort.

The same thing happened with Jake Peter. Peter is a second baseman who can fill in at third or in a corner outfield spot and struggled in his second attempt at the Southern League as a 24 year old. A strangely out of character power spike in Charlotte (nine home runs in 194 PA, .506 SLG) gained him a bit of late fanfare, but his realistic ceiling appears to be far less Ben Zobrist and far more Tyler Saladino who can’t play shortstop.

He was also left off the 40 man, to the internet’s dismay, and somehow remained with the Sox until being traded to the Dodgers in Los Angeles’ second straight money dump trade of the offseason, bringing back Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan and their combined $10.5M off LA’s payroll. And there are somehow people unhappy with this move. A move that turned someone who is at best fourth on the depth chart at the stalwart position of utility man into two decent relief pitchers who might be capable of being turned into more useful pieces for the rebuild this summer.

It’s amazing being alive in such a time. We have more access and information than ever before. The downside is it makes everyone think they’re Sherlock Holmes when they aren’t even John Watson. They’re not even a character in the story.

Lead Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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