Blog Entry

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:08 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 7:50 pm
Mystery Team

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, the Mystery Team got its man, as Prince Fielder is headed to Detroit -- not Washington or Texas.

Last November, the idea of a "Mystery Team" was a joke -- a meme making fun of writers who dared to suggest there were things they didn't know, a team that could get by the new world order of Twitter and the 86,400 second news cycle. One blogger even called the chance of Cliff Lee signing with anyone other than the Yankees or Rangers "the invention of an agent" who was using a writer who dared to buck the status quo. That blogger even highlighted his jabs at the writer with a picture of the Mystery Machine, the vehicle of choice for Scooby Doo and pals. And it wasn't just snarky bloggers who have more jokes than information, mainstream writers got in on the meme as well.

Prince to Tigers
And then, well… Cliff Lee signed with the Mystery Team.

And so did Adrian Beltre.

But that didn't stop the barbs. After Albert Pujols went to Anaheim and now Prince Fielder to Tigers, the Mystery Team is no joke.

It's almost to the point where for the biggest of the big free agents, the Mystery Team is a favorite. And if we're not there, we're probably to the point where the Mystery Team should never be counted out of the running, and certainly to the point where it shouldn't be mocked.

The biggest reason there's more Mystery Team chatter is because there's more chatter, the people making the biggest decisions are doing so with respect to Twitter and the proliferation of outlets reporting on baseball and sports, in general. We're at the point where fans see an interviewing Theo Epstein in a Chicago Starbucks and it makes national news. The teams aren't laughing about "bloggers in their mother's basements" anymore -- it's serious stuff. If rivals learn of a team's plan, it can cost them on the field and off the field in terms of money.

In response, teams are being much more careful about where they are seen and who they are seen with. At the winter meetings, teams will use service elevators and back hallways, places unavailable to the public -- and the press -- to get around.

Also, when it comes to the highest levels of free agents, the type that could cost $100 or $200 million, you're not talking about a general manager having the final say, it's the owners who have to pull the trigger. That leads to an agent, such as Scott Boras, dealing with the money people, not the baseball people who have less of an incentive to keep quiet. The more people who know that a team is considering signing a player, the more chance it can leak out. At some point, the GM can say, "yeah, I'd love to have Albert Pujols." And that's a no-brainer. It's all up to the owner to decide if he wants to spend the money, so he meets with the agent, and maybe the player.

There are still cases like Jose Reyes, where pretty much everyone assumed he'd end up in Miami, but we're also at the point where you should never, ever count out the Mystery Team.

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Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: January 26, 2012 10:35 am

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

Appearently the baseball prognosticators missed the boat on this...Someone said "Mystery Team", code word for "We have know clue"...I do not think anyone saw this coming, including Dombrowski...He probably got a phone call from Illitch that said do it...

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:06 am

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

yeah they did well covering this one

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:36 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

"we think hes gonna sign with washington, but there could be a mystery team (the other 29 teams in the league)" so....... we learned that he will sign a contract to play baseball this season. amazing how sports writers try so hard to make themselves look important. 

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:27 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

"mystery team" is journalist jargon for we have no idea who is going to sign him.  

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:25 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

In this case it's a story of an aging owner wanting to win his first championship and a highly skillful agent finding the team with the biggest need. Curious as to when the tigers became the mystery team...I believe the signing still occurs even without vmarts injury.

Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:19 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

Let's just face it. Players most often sign where they get the biggest contract and not where they think they have the best chance to win. Players who restructure their contract and take less money for loyalty, such as Peyton Manning and Chipper Jones, are never praised for staying with the team that committed to them and spent tons of money making them what they are today.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:58 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

A real good chance????  LOL......  He signed HOURS ago....

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:53 pm

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

I think there real good chance that Fielder sign with Detroit, it also be an little funny since Fielder father played there for an couple of years.

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