Tim Dierkes, the man most baseball bloggers aspire to be, the man with the inside scoop, the man that was able to quit his day job, post rumors on the Internet while getting paid to do it, and now pays other rumor mongers to work under him so he can actually sleep (as if Super Man needs sleep), did a Q&A session with us. Yes, I speak of Tim Diereks of the famous MLB Trade Rumors where I visit at least 10 times daily. His mega-site had over 1 million views Decemeber 10th during the Winter Meetings. He's been on the radio, gets praised by major newspaper outlets (USA Today, Chicago Tribune, etc), and has gotten the virtual high-five from the original rumor gangster Peter Gammons. Needless to say, Mr. Dierkes is a busy man, but not too busy to stop from breaking the latest in the Manny saga to answer some questions for WSBGM's.
1. Describe the phenomenon known as MLB Trade Rumors.
It's a phenomenon now? That's a new one.
2. How do you keep up with the latest scoop?
I monitor a few hundred websites, reading most of the baseball stories. Readers help me out a ton by emailing links, and journalists sometimes do the same.
3. Biggest surprise trade, free agent signing, and still unemployed player the offseason?
Biggest surprise trade was J.J. Putz to the Mets, given that it was on the heels of their K-Rod signing. I also was surprised to see Mark DeRosa dealt. The John Smoltz and Trevor Hoffman signings were two I would've never guessed. Quite surprised to see Adam Dunn and Ben Sheets unemployed on February 2nd.
4. What team that has suffered through some dismal times recently is now heading in the right direction?
5. What team that has experienced winning recently is in for a rude awakening?
6. This is now you're full-time job, how gratifying is that?
Very, I could hardly think of a cooler job.
7. What's your take on the Ryan Howard contract dilemma?
I think he's justified in trying to get paid the max right now, given that he was held down in the minors when he was MLB-ready. I think the Phils will win the arb hearing though if it gets to that.
8. You're Cubbies fell hard in the playoffs yet again...what to expect in '09?
It was a weird offseason with certain moves made to cut salary. They acquired the balance they craved, maybe that is the missing ingredient. I figure if you can get to the playoffs often you'll eventually break through.
9. There has been an awful lot of false reports/flimsy rumors this offseason (Furcal signing with Oakland then Atlanta, the entire Jake Peavy ridiculousness), what do you make of it?
I have been tracking reports that were blatantly shot down for being incorrect, and came up with fewer than ten. So while certain ones stand out in our memory it's not the norm.
10. MLBTR has delved into the foreign player market (Japan, Dominican, Cuba) and showcased many of the prized prospect, how do you go about doing your research?
I just read whatever I can get my hands on. I don't really know a ton about the markets you named though.
11. Who is your favorite current player and why?
Rich Hill. A bit of an underdog, never had the Cubs' confidence for long. I love watching that huge curveball, I hope he rediscovers the strike zone in Baltimore.