MLB Fan's Guide to Following the Offseason Rumor Mill

Tyler Duma@@TylerDuma_BRFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2013

MLB Fan's Guide to Following the Offseason Rumor Mill

0 of 5

    In this article, I'll help you figure out how to keep up with the latest Robinson Cano rumors this offseason.
    In this article, I'll help you figure out how to keep up with the latest Robinson Cano rumors this offseason.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The MLB offseason is one of the most exciting and most hectic periods of any professional sports season.

    With a bevy of free agents and trade candidates circulating through the rumor mill, it can be pretty easy to lose sight of reality. Luckily, we here at Bleacher Report have you covered.

    In this article, I'll give you the definitive guide on how to follow the 2013-14 offseason rumor mill. We'll look at key Twitter accounts to follow, unique sites to bookmark, big names to track, trackers and lists to follow, and finally a guide on how to separate legitimate rumors from fantasy.

    So sit back, grab your pen and paper, and be sure to take notes!

Marquee Names to Track

1 of 5

    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    A few players have already signed, but the vast majority of players are still on the board. Additionally, trade rumors continue to circulate, and some of the game's biggest names are available for the right return package.

    Here are some of the biggest names for you to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.

    Free-Agent Position Players

    • Brian McCann (C)
    • A.J. Pierzynski (C)
    • Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)
    • Corey Hart (1B)
    • Kendrys Morales (1B)
    • Justin Morneau (1B)
    • Mike Napoli (1B)
    • Robinson Cano (2B)
    • Omar Infante (2B)
    • Stephen Drew (SS)
    • Jhonny Peralta (SS)
    • Juan Uribe (3B)
    • David Murphy (LF)
    • Nate McClouth (LF)
    • Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
    • Curtis Granderson (CF)
    • Carlos Beltran (RF)
    • Shin-Soo Choo (RF)
    • Nelson Cruz (RF)
    • Delmon Young (RF)

    Free-Agent Pitchers

    • Bronson Arroyo (SP)
    • A.J. Burnett (SP)
    • Bartolo Colon (SP)
    • Scott Feldman (SP)
    • Matt Garza (SP)
    • Paul Maholm (SP)
    • Ricky Nolasco (SP)
    • Ervin Santana (SP)
    • Masahiro Tanaka (SP) (International Free Agent)
    • Jason Vargas (SP)
    • Suk Min-Yoon (SP)
    • Grant Balfour (CL)
    • Joaquin Benoit (CL)
    • Edward Mujica (CL)
    • Joe Nathan (CL)
    • Fernando Rodney (CL)
    • Brian Wilson (CL)
    • Jesse Crain (RP)
    • Boone Logan (RP)
    • Eric O'Flaherty (RP)
    • Manny Parra (RP)
    • Oliver Perez (RP)
    • Francisco Rodriguez (RP)

    Top Trade Candidates

    Free-Agents list comprised through use of Cot's Baseball Contracts position players list, and pitchers list.

    Trade rumors are individually linked through players' names. Some links may require a subscription to ESPN insider.

Must-Follow Twitter Accounts

2 of 5

    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Aside from following the official team accounts, team beat writers from various publications and players, there are numerous Twitter accounts that should be on your radar.

    To enhance your offseason experience, and to keep up with all the latest rumors, signings and trades, consider following the Twitter accounts listed below.

    Sports Media Outlets

    Writers

    BR Writers to Follow

Sites to Bookmark

3 of 5

    Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the hottest names in free agency. If you want to keep up with the rumors regard him and others, be sure to bookmark the sites below.
    Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the hottest names in free agency. If you want to keep up with the rumors regard him and others, be sure to bookmark the sites below.Elsa/Getty Images

    After you get done following everyone listed on the previous slide, there are quite a few sites you should bookmark. Aside from MLB.com, there are numerous sites that will help to keep up with the ever-changing rumor mill.

    Bleacherreport.com

    You're here already, so it almost goes without saying, but one of the best places to keep up with the latest offseason news is right here at Bleacher Report.

    Each team has Featured Columnists dedicated to delivering the best and most current team-specific content, while our MLB Featured Columnists cover baseball's biggest topics including major trade and free-agency rumors. Additionally we have multiple Lead Writers who cover the same major topics as MLB FCs, along with stories on over-arching themes around Major League Baseball.

    To keep you current with recent trade rumors and free-agency news, Bleacher Report has pages dedicated to collecting our latest work on the topics. You can find these pages here, and here.

    Mlbtraderumors.com

    MLB Trade Rumors is a site that collects the latest news circling the rumor mill. The site's home tracks the latest rumors, organized by date and time, while also tracking each team's individual rumors on separate pages.

    The site isn't just a collection of secondary sources though, it also delivers original content including its annual free-agency predictions, a free-agent tracker and a complete list of this year's free agents.

    Foxsports.com

    The next three sites are all very similar in nature. Fox Sports is a particularly interesting site for readers, though, as it contains the work of writers/reporters like Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

    Rosenthal, a regular guest on the MLB Network, is arguably the biggest name in the world of baseball rumors. Morosi also covers trade and free-agency rumors, and sometimes fills in for Rosenthal during major network appearances.

    If you don't have a Twitter account, or even if you do, Fox Sports will keep you in touch with Rosenthal and Morosi as they bring inside information to the forefront.

    Cbssports.com 

    There isn't much to say about CBS Sports that hasn't already been said about Fox Sports. It's essentially the same website, just from a different network.

    The nice thing about CBS is that it employs one of baseball's top insiders, Jon Heyman. Heyman is a frequent guest on the MLB Network, and is one of the most well-respected writers around.

    Espn.com

    No matter your take on ESPN, it's a great place to catch up on the latest baseball rumors. The site features two distinct levels, the common one, that everybody sees, and the insider page that you have to pay for.

    On the common level, you'll get an experience similar to that of CBS Sports, or Fox Sports—without the benefit of reading works from Heyman, Morosi and Rosenthal. On the insider level, which requires a subscription, you'll get the latest in rumors and speculative pieces from some of the industry's leading writers including Buster Olney, Jim Bowden, Keith Law and others.

    Twitter.com

    Are you not on the Twitter bandwagon? If you're not, then chances are, you're out of the loop as far as MLB rumors go.

    Twitter is the site of choice for writers to get their latest pieces out, so in order to keep up with everything going on this offseason, you're going to want to have a Twitter account. But seriously, why don't you already have a Twitter account?

How to Know If a Rumor Is Legitimate

4 of 5

    Shin-Soo Choo is reportedly drawing interest from every team known to man.. Better substantiate those rumors through some research!
    Shin-Soo Choo is reportedly drawing interest from every team known to man.. Better substantiate those rumors through some research!Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    One common trap fans fall into is believing a rumor that's just completely untrue. Luckily, there's a few things you can do to prevent yourself from falling into this trap.

    A good place to start is either here at Bleacher Report, or mlbtraderumors.com. If a rumor is circulating, we likely have numerous pieces on the subject already up on our front page. At MLB Trade Rumors—discussed in a previous slide—you can peruse team pages and look for links to the latest rumors.

    After that, the thing to do when analyzing any rumor is just to determine whether or not the move is a good fit for the team(s) involved.

    If a highly touted free agent is said to be going for a suspiciously low amount of money, or to a horrible team—e.g. Miami—, then you may want to double check it. Additionally, on trade rumors, analyze both sides of the deal.

    Live by one simple rule this offseason: If it seems too good to be true, chances are it really is too good to be true.

    Sometimes, a deal hasn't even been made yet, and you might find yourself wondering, "why is that team interested in that guy?" Well, there's a way to find out if that information is legitimate as well.

    When analyzing any rumor, you should consult the experts. Those Twitter accounts we looked at four slides back, those are your saving grace this offseason—and every offseason, really.

    Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman and crew are some of baseball's most well respected insiders, and are capable of getting information that very few have access to. Chances are, if they haven't tweeted, written or spoken about it, then the rumor is probably a sham.

    Even if you find a rumor that seems to check out in your mind, I implore you to visit the Twitter feeds and sports-writing pages of some of those writers. Again, if a rumor is legit, those guys will know.

Follow B/R's Trackers and Lists

5 of 5

    2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is drawing a lot of interest this offseason, and he's a key part of B/R's trackers and lists.
    2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is drawing a lot of interest this offseason, and he's a key part of B/R's trackers and lists.Al Bello/Getty Images

    Here at Bleacher Report, we have numerous trackers and lists to accompany numerous other pieces dedicated to following the MLB rumor mill.

    These trackers and lists are updated constantly to keep you informed on the latest happenings around the league. Here are a few you should keep referring back to.

    Understanding the value of a player on the free-agent and trade markets can be difficult. In free agency, you need to assess whether a long-term deal is worth it for a top free agent. On the trade market, you need to weigh the two sides of the deal in determining whether or not you, as a major league club, are setting yourself up for sustainable success.

    In MLB Lead Writer Zach Rymer's piece, he breaks down the top 25 free-agent/trade targets, and assigns a value to them based on their ability to contribute in the future.

    2014 MLB Free-Agent Tracker: Rumors and Destinations for Top 50 Free Agents

    Fellow writer and MLB Columnist Ely Sussman has compiled a list of the top 50 free agents for this offseason, and tracks the latest rumors and rumored destinations for those players. 

    Additionally, if a player signs—e.g. Tim Hudson, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd—Ely keeps track of those on a separate slide, located near the beginning of the article. Be sure to bookmark this article moving forward.

    MLB Trade Rumors Tracker: All the Latest Suitors, Updates for Top Targets

    Similar to the last article we looked at, be sure to keep up with MLB Featured Columnist and lead prospect writer Adam Wells as he tracks the latest updates for the offseason's top trade targets.

    While rumors in free agency can be difficult to keep up with, trade rumors are even more volatile. Sometimes they can stem from something as simple as a fan proposing a deal on a message board or in a comment thread.

    Adam's article takes all the guessing out of the equation as he helps collect the latest rumors from baseball's beat writers and insiders.

    MLB Trade Rumors: Updating Top MLB Prospects on the Trade Block

    This is a week-by-week tracker with a new article every week. The aim is pretty straight forward, prospects are added to, and taken away from, the list each week, and the latest rumors surrounding said prospects are inserted.

    The series is currently in its second week, and Lead Prospect Writer Mike Rosenbaum took the lead this week, while the Week 1 edition was penned by Adam Wells.

    Prospects are a huge part of the rumor mill, as they're generally the ones being traded for established big league talent. Be sure to keep an eye on the series as we progress through the offseason.

    MLB Teams That Most Desperately Need Pitching Help This Offseason; MLB Teams That Most Desperately Need Hitting Help This Offseason

    If you're going to follow the offseason rumor mill, these two articles would be a good place to start. Teams take the offseason as an opportunity to fill positions of need, and some need all the help they can get in certain areas.

    In the first piece, MLB Columnist Karl Buscheck breaks down the teams in need of the most help on the mound this offseason. The second piece, written by Ely Sussman, takes the same approach, but with the teams that need the most help offensively.

    Pros and Cons for Each of MLB's Top 25 Offseason Targets

    Want to know all the reasons why your favorite team should or shouldn't pursue the biggest names on the free-agent market? If so, you'll want to consult MLB Lead Writer Jason Martinez's piece detailing the pros and cons of each of the league's top-25 targets.

    MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free-Agency Updates for Every Team

    This is another of B/R's weekly trackers. This one, usually written by a different author every week, goes team-by-team in an attempt to bring you up to speed on the latest trade and free-agency rumors.

    The two most recent pieces were written by MLB Columnists Joel Reuter, and Rick Weiner, respectively. You can find those pieces here, and here.

    2014 MLB Free Agency: Separating Fact from Fiction with the Latest Rumors

    The final piece you should consider following in a week-to-week basis is the fact-or-fiction series by MLB Columnist Karl Buscheck. Every week, Karl plays fact or fiction with the latest offseason rumors, in order to help you separate the legitimate from the BS.

    Weeks 1 and 2 of Karl's series are already in the books, but you can visit them here, and here.

    If you're looking for a more team-specific approach, visit the various team pages for articles like this.