USA Today Sports

ESPN reportedly hires Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan to be the 'Adam Schefter of baseball'

Alex Reimer
October 12, 2018 - 12:14 pm

ESPN seemingly has a monopoly on breaking news in the NFL and NBA. The network’s team of ubiquitous Insiders, led by Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, are portrayed as the unofficial papers of record for their respective leagues. 

When it comes to baseball, however, ESPN is lagging behind the competition. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal is the top news-breaker in the seamhead world, with the WorldWide Leader’s group of MLB reporters falling well behind him. But apparently, ESPN is looking to change that. The network wants to bring in Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan to serve as its baseball version of Schefter, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

The news comes on the heels of longtime baseball columnist Jerry Crasnick’s exit from Jayson Stark also left ESPN last year, and now works for MLB Network and The Athletic. 

ESPN has downsized its emphasis on MLB coverage over the last year, reducing “Baseball Tonight” to once per week and laying off many of its heralded baseball reporters, including Stark. 

But the reported decision to hire Passan signals that ESPN wants to dominate the MLB news cycle once more. Marchand says Passan, who’s currently a columnist at Yahoo! Sports, will be asked to be as prolific as Schefter and Wojnarowski. He’ll likely do less TV, however, just because of where MLB falls in the pecking order.

But still, if Passan is going to be asked to constantly break news, his days as a regular columnist are almost certainly over. That’s too bad. His 10 Degrees posts on Monday’s are must-reads, and his insight is incisive. There’s also nobody who’s been better at eviscerating the Marlins in recent years.

Passan will surely be making more money as a nugget-trading Insider for ESPN. But it will be a shame to see his other talents go to waste.