"Tim Lincecum for Kyle Kendrick? Yeah, hey, why not."
Here's one thing you need to know about baseball beyond the white lines: there is an awful lot of standing-around-chit-chatting-with-people-about-baseball time.
The idle time before a game allows people to discuss anything and everything from, "Can Ichiro hit for more power?" to "I wonder how many home runs would Ted Williams hit in today's game?" to "You think St. Louis would consider a Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols trade?"
Things are said in jest and in hypothetical fashion. Unless it's a humorous of off-beat enough to fill a tweet or blog, it's mostly laughed at as idle chit chat to take up the time before a game or while you're waiting for something to happen at a ballpark.
Of course, some of that idle time today was spent half-laughing about the ESPN report that the Phillies had internal discussions about a Howard-for-Pujols swap. The ESPN reporter, Buster Olney, is a highly respected baseball scribe; still, the report seems just a bit outlandish.
Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. categorically denied any such talk, calling the report "lies" and "irresponsible" to both ESPN and CSN. So there's that.
My feeling? Sure it was "discussed internally." But so are questions like, "Wonder if we'd be better served with Jimmy Rollins hitting 6th?" or "Could be pitch Halladay on three days rest in April?" or "I wonder if we can get a table at Lenny's before the game?"
People talk about anything and everything... but that doesn't mean any of the talk is serious. If you can't B.S. at the ballpark to fill the idle time, you need to find another profession.
For what it's worth, here's what Mr. Howard said this morning:
"I really don't have anything to say about it," Howard said. "Truthfully, I can go back to all the stuff that happened when I was in double-A -- all the talk about trade rumors. I don't know anything about anything. I'm not really focused on it. If that were the case -- I don't know if it is or not -- it is what it is. You just keep going out there and doing your thing. If you get a call saying you're trade, then you're traded. Until that happens, I'm still a Phillie. I'm still here. Let's ride it out."
Should you "blame Buster?"
"I like Buster," Howard said. "He has all the inside info."