Just this week, as the anniversary of the seismic trade between the crosstown-rivals looms, Rick Hahn opened up about how the trade went down and his astonishment over how quiet the deal remained until the closing moments when two Reddit users broke the trade.
“I do recall I was on the phone with Q, which was the last step,” Hahn explained. “All the Cubs players had been informed. I was missing him and getting voicemail. Finally, he and I connected and while I was talking with him I was receiving text messages from members of the Chicago media.”
I spoke to Chuck Garfien of NBC Sports Chicago this week for the latest installment of the Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast and I can’t believe he didn’t mention his upcoming story about this. But, I’ll take the blame for failing to recognize the anniversary and quiet deception around the whole deal. (Don’t worry, Garfien gave us some tasty morsels about Jason Benetti’s eating habits, Steve Stone’s colorful shirts and A.J. Pierzynski’s ironic Florida State football jersey that was too risque for television.)
The media has tentacles in places you didn’t know tentacles could reach and we typically ferret out rumors before public relations teams can get the press releases out. But this was a circumstance that surprised both Hahn and Epstein.
“The short answer is yes, we were surprised,” Hahn said. “We were surprised in part because it’s very rare that we as a club get to be the first to announce any of our transactions, even if it’s Avi (Garcia) to the DL. That somehow gets out on Twitter more often than not. So the fact that a major trade of any sort held until a press release, much less a trade between these two clubs and the level of heightened antennae that are around both clubs, especially this time of year, we were surprised.”
“The word getting out would have certainly increased the chances for there to be scrutiny and noise and derailment,” Hahn said. “It’s some other club jumping in, an offer being increased, any number of factors that can derail a trade. Certainly staying quiet was essential to being able to get the thing across the finish line.”
Here’s the new scoop. There were five teams involved in the maneuvering before the Cubs sealed the deal. Three other “contending” teams were chasing Hahn and Quintana around the All-Star break last season. Two other “mystery” teams, who were not in contention for a playoff birth at the time but wanted to build a rotation for the future, jumped into the sweepstakes as well.
by the time Hahn reached out to Epstein he had a very clear idea of what it would take to get a deal done between the two clubs.
“The depth of those conversations with the other clubs is actually what put us in a position when it came time to talk to the Cubs to be able to be very direct with what it was going to take,” Hahn said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “We could sincerely tell them that without Eloy (Jimenez) and (Dylan) Cease being part of it, it’s not going to happen.”
With a little bit of mystery and deception (Hahn ditched his son at a Fanfest event to sneak behind a display and take a call from Epstein), the deal was gaining momentum.
Not long after, Wetbut23 sprinkled a little bit of intrigue into the narrative mere hours before the trade was announced.
“Hey, take this with a grain of salt, but I heard from a friend who’s brothers [sic] friend works for the cubs (sounds like bulls**t I know), that Q is going to the cubs in exchange for 4 players. Has anyone heard anything similar?”
But then…after a healthy amount of skepticism from other Reddit users, KateyPerrysBootyhole came to the rescue.
“4 prospects. No pros. Players were meeting with doctors and will be official tonight or tomorrow.”
When pressed for details and verification, Katy’s bootyhole responded with:
“I was just told that the trade was agreed to this morning. And the players were doing physicals and what not. Could have been before game, I am not 100% on the timeline of the physicals… There is no need for credibility of the interweb!! Haha I don’t know what I can even provide. Someone told me something, I took it for what it was worth.”
Once the trade was confirmed by team officials the praise for arses became real on the White Sox subreddit.
“wetbutt23… you are my new oracle.”
“I have no other choice but to believe wetbutt is Theo Epstein.”
“wetbutt23 is Rick Hahn and he’s placing trade rumors in various MLB subreddits…”
“Always have faith in Katy Perry’s Butthole, guise [sic]. Always.”
And that, my friends, is the story behind the story.