Everyone who follows baseball knows it by now - Jimmy Rollins has been traded to the Dodgers. Fewer people know it, but most who follow the Phillies or Dodgers closely enough know that in return the Phillies received two minor league pitchers, Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.
Except, if you look at both teams' official transaction lists, there's no mention of these moves. The Phillies page has the Antonio Bastardo trade and the Rule 5 acquisitions from this week. The Dodgers page has the Marlins trade and the Angels trade. But nothing about Rollins on either page.
Look through news reports, and you'll find a ton of reporters talking, but nothing from the teams. No press releases. No press conferences. No statements from the players, either. And certainly no tearful goodbye from Rollins to Phillies fans.
Which makes my skeptical mind wonder - maybe none of this happened. Maybe this is all a ton of smoke, but no fire? Maybe this is just the new media landscape following each other like lemmings instead of waiting to report on actual confirmed information?
Not that I'm thinking the Dodgers and Phillies never came to an agreement here. It sure seems like talks got far enough for every reporter and his mother to start announcing the trade. But, as best as I can tell, there are many things that still have to happen before the trade is official:
- Matt Kemp needs to be traded to the Padres, so the Dodgers officially have Zach Eflin to then trade to the Phillies. Click the link above with the Dodgers transactions and you'll notice there is no Kemp trade either.
- Presumably, this means that there are medical reports or physicals that are being reviewed still by the Padres and/or Dodgers.
- Once that happens, if it happens, the same will have to happen with the Phillies and Eflin (and possibly Windle too).
- By all accounts, there may be money moving in the deal from the Phillies to the Dodgers, which means the deal has to be approved by the commissioner's office.
There may be a lot more that is contingent that I don't known about, but this leaves at least four serious contingencies before Rollins is officially traded to the Dodgers. If you've followed sports for even a short period of time, you know that these contingencies tank deals on a regular basis.
In other words, what we have been treating as an event that has occurred in the past (and I'm just as guilty here!) is something that has a non-negligible chance of never happening.
In which case, what would that mean? I guess there are three possibilities:
1) The Phillies and Dodgers work out another deal, maybe swapping a different prospect instead of Eflin. But they are determined, especially the Dodgers who are re-tooling their infield, and will make this happen.
2) The Phillies move on to other suitors for Rollins. Getting this far with the Dodgers makes it clear the Phillies want to trade Rollins. But will they get him to waive his no-trade clause again? And are other teams willing to depart with two good pitching prospects, what the Phillies now probably think they are owed?
3) The Phillies keep Rollins. This would surely be welcome news for my sons, but after the Phillies came so close to trading Rollins, it would be an awkward result. Though, given what we know about Rollins, I'm sure he'd handle it with aplomb and continue playing for the Phils with his signature smile.
Judging by my inquiries along these lines with the TGP blog lord email list as well as questions on Twitter to people in the know, I'm pretty sure this piece is going to be received as if I'm a crazy person.
But it's worth keeping in mind what I'm writing here - deals fall through all the time and for the most minute of reasons. An unofficial deal with as many working contingencies as this one is no exception.
PS. To be clear, contrary to what it may seem based on what I posted this morning, this is not the sentimental side of me writing. Rather, this is the lawyer side of me.