From the middle of May to the end of July, trade rumors dominate a lot of the conversation in baseball -- what teams are looking for, which opposing players might be targeted, who might be on the move, the weakest links who might be replaced, the latest swap proposals.
For some players and executives, this can be disruptive and distracting, because with every mention in every tweet or story, there are family members and agents reading and reacting. Even players who choose to wall off social media will be affected, because their emotional defenses are sometimes breached by a text or call from a parent, their spouse or close friends who attack with well-intentioned questions. What do you hear about that potential Indians trade? Will they use you as a closer? Will you get a contract extension?
But even the players and executives most annoyed by the reports and rumors understand and acknowledge that this is just part of the game, something everybody must navigate, partly because it's always helped to drive interest in the sport. The more fans' imaginations are stoked by the possibility of a Manny Machado trade, like last summer, the better it is for the business.
That perspective should be applied to the question of player tampering, which popped up this week when the newest member of the Phillies, Bryce Harper, spoke openly about his intention to recruit Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
"If you don't think I'm going to call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you're crazy," Harper told radio station 94WIP, after talking about how aggressive Phillies owner John Middleton is.