The hot stove season in baseball can be a lot of fun. It's a time where there is a lot of speculation about which players will end up where, who will sign for what dollar amounts and so forth.
It can also be a bit of a frustrating time.
There are just so many reports and speculation out there anymore and, to me, pretty much every year now, most of it winds up being not completely true or, at the other end of the spectrum, totally wrong.
I know that every time any player signs with just about any team, someone will write to me wondering why the Orioles didn't sign that guy.
I know that any time any writer links the O's to any player, even in the most casual sense, there will be a message board with 500 responses talking about the O's definite interest in player X.
I know that any time team A signs a player to a 3-year, 25 million dollar contract, the O's will be called cheap because they didn't offer a 3-year, 28 million deal.
There will also be the usual response from some fans that if/when the O's don't sign Cliff Lee and some other team does, it just proves again that the Orioles don't want to win.
In our current day and age with all the internet stories, some very credible reporters will post some reports that they fully believe in and have solid sources on, whether they actually come true or not.
Many others, some wannabes with little credibility, will post things too that they saw on another site or got second or third or tenth hand.
I know the passionate O's fan base will find and link every story, every morsel of O's news, every mention of the teams' interest in any player at any time.
We can safely say now, even before some of the stories come out, that many will be unfounded or based in little fact.
Please understand this. Most teams, the O's included, don't just volunteer their true intentions to reporters so they can then alert the rest of baseball.
Andy MacPhail always plays his cards close to the vest. Sometime we can learn of some of his or the club's intentions, but not always and not that often really.
So, enjoy the hot stove season and the onslaught of reports and "news" we are about to get bombarded with.
Have fun to take it all in, but just remember that just because a reporter/blogger/talk-show host or whatever from wherever says the O's will be hot after player A or B or C, doesn't make it so.