Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that ESPN has poached Jeff Passan from Yahoo with the intention of turning him into their “Schefter of baseball.” Marchand writes that ESPN wants to position itself as having the most inside information from all three major American sports leagues.
Passan, 38, will be asked to be as prolific as Schefter and Wojnarowski, who are generally regarded as the top insiders in their respective sports. Passan is expected to be on TV a good amount, though ESPN greatly favors the NFL and the NBA on its studio programming.
Passan will not officially join the ESPN roster until the new year. He isn’t expected to appear on game broadcasts initially. He may not even be a part of the Baseball Tonight crew right away. Like Schefter and Woj, Passan’s primary responsibilities will be Tweets and SportsCenter hits.
According to Marchand, ESPN is not unhappy with the work its current baseball staff has done. It is just looking for a bump in its ability to break major stories in Major League Baseball.
The network has baseball information guys already in Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian and Pedro Gomez. While the trio, especially Olney, do break some news, they haven’t gone tidbit-for-tidbit with the prolific trio of MLB Network insiders, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman and The Post’s Joel Sherman, in a while.
Passan will continue to write for Yahoo until the new year. After that, it may be an opening that could be filled by Jerry Crasnick, who was let go by ESPN last week.