When I first heard about the Shin-Soo Choo trade, and what the Indians would receive in return, I was shocked. So shocked, I questioned whether or not Chris Antonetti slipped the other general managers roofies. It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt that the Indians honestly got the best of a trade, without lying to myself about it. They essentially surrendered one-year of Choo, and some spare parts for Trevor Bauer and a couple of decent pitchers. I never thought they’d be able to land Bauer without giving the Diamondbacks Asdrubal Cabrera, but they now have Cabrera and Bauer. When you’re the GM of a small-budget team like the Indians, I’m sure you have to get creative on your methodology when it comes to free agent signings and trades. I started to think about what I would do if some poor team was stupid enough to hire me as their GM. Get ready to throw traditional out of the window, because I’m not that good of a salesperson and not really much of a bargainer. These would be some of my signature moves if I was in charge of a low-budget team:
- I would strongly consider kidnapping other teams’ star players. This is much more cost effective because their original team would pay all of their salary. Fan question: “Isn’t that just Mike Trout with a mustache in the outfield?” Me: “Nope, that’s a completely different player named Ike Frout.” Fan: “I tossed him this baseball so he could sign it, and he tossed it back with the words ‘help me’ written on it.” Me: “Oh that’s just Ike Frout’s signature catch phrase…that’s why you hear him saying it all of the time.”
- Andrew Friedman calls from the Rays and I hang up the phone on him. You’re not going to swindle me, buddy!
- I’d take other GMs out for drinks to discuss players. Then I’d pull the old switcheroo and drink water while they downed the tough stuff. After a few hours of this, I would make my move. Me: “How about Joey Votto for Shin-Soo Choo, with you eating 95% of Votto’s salary for the next 12 years?” Walt Jocketty: (Lays head down on table, muttering). Me: “I just need to get your signature on this stack of papers for your share of the bar bill.” (I stick papers under his face and he signs the trade deal and goes back to sleep). And that is how I would acquire Votto for about $1.5 million per year. As soon as Jocketty signed, I’d yell NO TAKEBACKS and run out of the bar.
- Andrew Friedman calls again, but I yell “NO” and slam the phone down.
- Get a team to hire Bill Bavasi as GM so I can just swindle him non-stop. If the name isn’t ringing a bell, this is the man that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Indians for Ben Broussard and Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez. He’s also the same GM that sent Adam Jones and company to Baltimore for Erik Bedard, a move that is often ranked as one of the worst trades in recent history. His tenure saw a bunch of first round draft busts, much like the Indians of the early-mid 2000s.
- Andrew Friedman calls again and before I can hang up, he yells that he wants to trade me Evan Longoria for Matt LaPorta. I know he is up to something, there’s no way a sane, rational person would make that deal. Did one of Longoria’s arms fall off? I yell “YOU ARE A WITCH” and hang up again.
- I’d intimidate/frighten all of the other GMs so they’d fear me and I’d be more likely to get what I want. Me: “Oh it’s good to talk to you, Brian Cashman. How are your children doing? I really liked the red shirt your one kid was wearing when they left (name of school) the other day. I’ll keep an eye on them for you. So how about you help me reacquire CC Sabathia?” (Note: I have no idea if Cashman even has children, and going to look would probably make the real, blogger me look like a stalker).
- You know how I’d find new talent? Three words: Baseball Reality Show. You survive on the island the longest, you get a spot on the 40-man. Jeff Kent can be the host, since he has baseball and island reality show survival on his resume. I’m still working this out in my mind, but it would have to be something more than just constant scrimmages; that would get boring. I’d give them insane challenges they’d have to complete, like building a raft and racing each other in the water. I’d just call the Pittsburgh Pirates and ask GM Neal Huntington and Assistant GM Kyle Stark for advice, since they’re all about having their prospects participate in military-style drills. I’d also have the contestants cook food for judges, mostly because I’m just a huge fan of the show Chopped and I’d like to fit that in somewhere.
- I will make sure that every game is played in the format of the Eastern League All Star Game hitting challenge. I’ve always wanted to hang out in the infield drinking and eating items from a raw bar while Albert Pujols hits line drives at me. Welcome to Cleveland, Drew Stubbs! You get to hang from a crane in the outfield.
You always hear small market GMs saying that they have to get creative in order to compete with the larger markets. While they may not like any of my suggestions, you have to admit it doesn’t get more creative than using an approach that likely includes several felonies. If nothing else, they should at least heed my warnings on those calls from Friedman; probably nothing good can come from those.