After successfully managing to tap the phones of both Bill Smith and JP Ricciardo, I hit the gold mine. Read what I overheard the two discussing…
Bill Smith, general manager of the Minnesota Twins: Hello, JP, it’s Bill Smith of the Twins.
J.P. Ricciardi, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays: Hey, Bill! Long time no talk! Where have you been hiding? I haven’t seen you since Winter Meetings.
Smith: Oh, here and there. This is only my second full year on the job and I’m really learning how hectic things can get.
Ricciardi: You’re telling me. This is my eighth trade deadline. What can I do for you?
Smith: Well, I want to ask about two players. And don’t worry, I’m not very interested in Doc.
Ricciardo: Thank goodness for that. Having another team in the mix would just make it harder for me to get home every night. My wife already hates me… Who would you be interested in?
Smith: Marco Scutaro and Jason Frasor.
Ricciardo: Oh. Well, let me tell ‘ya, Bill, I really think highly of those two guys and it would take a lot to pry them away. They’ve got very manageable contracts. Plus, I’d miss out on a couple compensatory draft picks if I let them go.
Smith: (Laughing) I’m not that new, JP. I know Scutaro will be a Type-A free agent, but you’ll only receive those picks if he doesn’t acceptarbitration, which he probably will.
Ricciardo: You got me there, Bill. Well, you want to start with an offer?
Smith: Sure. How does Kevin Slowey for the both of them sound?
Ricciardo: (Clicking/typing on computer overheard in background, probably looking up Slowey on Baseball-Reference) He’s hurt, isn’t he?
Smith: Ah, just a little sore. He threw a bullpen today and will make a rehab start on Saturday. Don’t tell me a pitcher with his impeccible control doesn’t pique your interest. Slowey’s also just 25 years old.
Ricciardo: I have pitching coach Brad Arnsberg listening in on this call, and I think he’s drooling. You have no doubt heard about how he worked wonders with the mechanics of Ricky Romero.
Smith: Yeah, a very good job, indeed. I’d hate to give Slowey up, but I’d also love to get Scutaro in this lineup. Maybe then Gardenhire would ease off his Nick Punto-craze.
Ricciardo: Yeah, I’ve heard about that. What’s the deal? All my scouts tell me Punto has no bat and is losing his glove. Why on earth did you give him an extension?
Smith: Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but Gardenhire came to me and said that as soon as Punto was off this team he would leave as well. An ultimatum from the manager. Can you believe it? Judging from how he’s managed the bullpen these past few days that might not be the worst idea…
Ricciardo: That’s too bad. How would you plan on using Scutaro, then, if Punto is forced to stay on the team?
Smith: Punto is a solid late-inning replacement, and even Gardenhire can’t play Punto over Scutaro every day.
Ricciardo: How about Frasor, if you don’t mind my asking?
Smith: Did you watch that game on Sunday night? Need I say more?
Ricciardo: Oh, yeah. Well, I’d sure love to help you out, but I think we’ll need a little more than just Slowey.
Smith: How would it be if I threw in Alex Burnett? He was recently promoted to New Britain and will turn 22 in about a month. He’s currently boasting an ERA of 1.93 through 23 games in Double-A and hasn’t given up a home run yet this year.
Ricciardo: Well, I’m interested, to say the least. Let me do a quick review to make sure I’ve got everything straight.
Marco Scutaro, 33, UTIL, $1.1 million
Jason Frasor, 31, RHP, $1.45 million
Kevin Slowey, 25, RHSP, $.44 million
Alex Burnett, 21, RHP
I like the way that sounds, Bill. I’ll obviously have to spend a day or so checking scouting reports and the like, but I think we’re very close to a deal. By the way, these guys have picked up a little French, living so close to Quebec. Got any French-speaking Canadians on your roster?
Smith: (Laughing) Well, I’m not sure about that, but Morneau is Canadian and I’m sure he’ll take an instant liking to Scutaro. I also majored in French in college, so I’ll keep ‘em from getting rusty.
Ricciardo: I’ll call you back sometime before Friday, Bill. A pleasure doing business.
Smith: Likewise, JP. Good luck getting that Holladay situation sorted out!
Ricciardo: (Laughing) Actually, I think the Phillies are calling again. I’ve been taking calls from them and the Mets for almost twenty-four hours now! Talk to you later, Bill!
Smith: See ya, JP.
And with that, a trade rumor was born.