It’s time for the feud! Baseball’s winter meetings can be a frenzied time for MLB beat reporters, who have to chase down a blizzard of rumors and reports of free agent signings and trades. Competition for scoops is fierce. Not only are reporters trying to get to stories before their contemporaries on the beat, but they’re also working against national insiders and columnists for news on their respective teams.
That competition is causing some friction on the New York Mets beat, demonstrated by tweets from SNY’s Andy Martino and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
One of the hot rumors circulating through this year’s winter meetings at San Diego, first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, is the Houston Astros’ apparent interest in trading shortstop Carlos Correa. At 25, Correa still has plenty of upside and opportunity to be among the best at his position. Any team that trades for him would also have control of his services for two full seasons, though his salary will increase through arbitration which is presumably why the Astros are considering moving him off their payroll.
The Mets could be a good fit for Correa, which has reporters covering the team pursuing news of a possible deal. Martino reported that the Mets and Astros have indeed held conversations regarding a possible deal.
— SNY (@SNYtv) December 12, 2019
Martino did caution Mets fans and baseball followers that such a deal isn’t imminent and could happen later in the offseason. But his report compelled Martino’s colleagues on the Mets beat to respond, one of whom seemed skeptical.
Source described Mets-Astros Carlos Correa rumors as "more fantasy baseball" than reality. No real smoke there.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 12, 2019
DiComo’s labeling of his Correa report as “rumors” hit a nerve, as Martino tweeted about conversations between the Mets and Astros based on his reporting.
It’s not a rumor, it’s a report. And they’ve had dialogue, as reported. https://t.co/CJvlepD21f
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 12, 2019
Martino and DiComo surely have different sources on the Mets beat, and the information they’ve been given could be interpreted in different ways. If the Mets and Astros have talked about a Carlos Correa deal, it means exactly that. There was a conversation. It doesn’t mean a deal is likely to happen. And maybe that’s what whomever DiComo consulted was saying. Sure, there was a conversation, but a trade probably isn’t going to happen. But it’s also early in the process and there could be plenty of discussion and negotiation going on between the two teams.
Perhaps Martino shouldn’t have gone public with a report, but only he knows what he heard. Of course, this also goes back to the heavy competition on the Mets beat and mentioning the possibility of a Correa trade helps Martino stand out among the crowd. It’s part of the job.
Several fans on #MetsTwitter point out that Martino has been unreliable with rumors and reporting in the past. But beat writers aren’t always going to be completely accurate, going on what they hear and what they’re given. It’s possible that a Mets source floated the Correa stuff out there to give fans the impression that the team is trying to make a blockbuster move.
The Mets could certainly use star power in trying to compete with the Yankees for the affection of New York sports fans and attention from the city’s media. Their lineup could also use a strong, run-producing bat to go with National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso and outfielder Michael Conforto. The Mets already have a capable shortstop in Amed Rosario, but he’s had issues with his defense which could result in him moving to center field. Or Rosario could remain at shortstop and perhaps Correa could play third base, where a player of his size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) could eventually be better suited.
In the meantime, Martino, DiComo, and the other reporters on the Mets beat have plenty of news to cover with the team signing free agent pitchers Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to one-year contracts. But the Correa story is still worth chasing. Could Martino or DiComo be the one who breaks the news first? And if so, will there be any congratulatory pats on the back afterward?