Friday, February 25, 2011

Amidst Trade Noise Rangers GM Glen Sather Keeps Quiet And Works His Plan

The trade deadline is now just over three days away and the rumormill is on fire with what the New York Rangers might do.  Add to that fan desire and panic in overdrive both for what their team might do and what other teams have already done.  Out of the woodwork come armchair general managers who all have ideas about what Rangers GM Glen Sather should and will do before Monday's deadline.  I am guilty of it myself, at least in telling them what I want them to do, and speculating on what could happen is half the fun of the deadline, but reality is only Sather and his closest people know what is going on inside the room.  Only they know who they are talking to about which players and the cost associated with them no matter how much others outside pontificate with their "sources."
Rick Carpiniello over at Rangers Report had it exactly right yesterday when talking about how team Sather is great and playing their cards close to the vest and not having information come out publicly.   
Here’s why, and I said this in the comments the other day. When is the last time a Glen Sather trade was leaked before it happened? The Jokinen-Prust deal got out only because it was done when Kotalik caused a delay by trying to invoke his no-trade clause. And even when it got out, nobody—nobody—had Prust in the deal until it was announced.
So nobody outside his office knows what Sather is going to do, and if they say they do, they’re full of it.
As I said, the speculation is fun for all of us, but the moment someone claims they have a source on Sather side of the equation is the time where I stop believing what comes next.  Whatever is leaked in terms of specific players and/or negotiation is leaked for a reason and it is not to allow anyone meaningful access to the deals in progress.  Sather has laid out his general plans for all of us to know, and that he does not plan to pay anything except his price, but the specifics of what players he thinks fits that mold and the cost he is willing to place on them are meant to be kept in the dark.
In some sense it makes me wonder if the Bryan McCabe deal will happen at all.  I say that because the idea this deal has been speculated about so wildly at this point in connection with the Rangers.  That fact does not fit the Sather model of making a trade under the cover of darkness and only having the public find out once it is done.  The possibility for this one to play out differently is there because of the broken jaw McCabe suffered, which supposedly derailed a deal that was about to be made.  In the intervening time the media has had a chance to catch up to what would have been a surprise move then, or is all this McCabe chatter a well-designed smoke screen while Sather works behind the scenes on something completely different?
While the rumors fly about names that fans might like and ones that might make fans cringe, Sather will be working behind the scenes on whatever his plan.  The reason he has done so well in trades recently is how well he can control the message within his group and keeping the talks quiet helps to control price.  Sather could go in any number or combination of directions over these last few days, but what one knows for sure is that he is not going to get caught flat footed, he is not going to panic and he is not going to let anyone know what he is doing.  The only time we will be privy to what Sather planned on doing is when it is done.  Enjoy the speculation, and we will do our fair share of it, but realize no one really knows anything except those in the room no matter how many times they try to tell you something different.