June 6, 2006
THE PEDELTY BOX: How to deal with the 'Let's Make a Deal' people
J.T. PEDELTY, firstname.lastname@example.org
, (815) 433-2005
Yep, it's that time of year again.
Soon THEY will be popping up like dandelions, turning up like bad pennies (whatever bad pennies are), flying through the air like cottonwood seeds, cluttering our minds like the dirty dishes cluttering up my kitchen sink.
What are the THEY I'm talking about? Well, hopefully not yard weeds, coinage that isn't up to snuff, littering trees or my dirty -- but well-rinsed -- dishes. Otherwise I'd be a pretty cruddy simile maker.
No, THEY are the Hypothetical Trade Suggesters.
You'll hear them on sports radio. You'll be confronted by them in your favorite neighborhood watering hole. And certainly, certainly you'll read about them in the newspapers. Many better columnists than yours truly have spent thousands and thousands (and thousands) of column inches over the years sculpting the perfect make-believe sports trades, explaining how much sense they make and concluding their thoughts with an unapologetic call to action.
This time of year more than any other brings out these wannabe general managers in full force -- first of all because trading is a much larger part of the game in baseball than in any other sport; secondly because by June everyone knows what's wrong with their favorite team and what players from other teams are off to great starts.
Those of you big sports fans (or even you skinny people who really like sports) know what I'm talking about. But since I know a good number of my Constant Readers aren't the world's biggest sports fanatics, I'll give you the gist of how one of these Hypothetical Trade Suggesters, or HTSers, works.
"You know what the Cubs really need?" one of the HTSers will say to anyone silly enough to listen or read. "We (and it's always "we" with the HTSers) need a power hitter who can play first base until D. Lee comes back, then move to the outfield. And we need another starting pitcher to fill in for Prior and maybe take over for Maddux, 'cause he ain't been too good lately.
"What we ought to do is trade Kerry Wood and Neifi Perez to the Reds for Adam Dunn and Bronson Arroyo."
Is that what the Cubs should do? You bet your best pair of socks! Are the Reds going to make that trade in a million gazillion years? Not flippin' likely! Somehow, if I were the Reds' GM, I don't think I'd trade Dunn (17 homers, .560 slugging percentage) and Arroyo (7-2 with a 2.40 ERA) for a pitcher who can't butter raisin bread without his arm falling off and a light-hitting utilityman.
That's the first problem with the HTSers: They're always making deals which are ludicrously lopsided in favor of their favorite team. I might as well try trading my neighbor my 1995 Chevy Caprice for the classic cars he's always restoring. Ninety-nine percent of the HTSers' suggestions are about as likely as someone wanting to stalk a Brewers radio announcer or the dad from "Mr. Belvedere." (What? Someone did? Really?)
The second problem with HTSers is they ignore a multitude of vital factors which are a big part of actual trade negotiations -- factors such as length of contract remaining, team chemistry and, most importantly, money, money, money.
Why don't the Nationals -- a team with plenty of highly-regarded minor leaguers which is on the cusp of contending and fighting to establish itself with an established, high-spending team just a few miles up the road -- try to get ARod from the Yankees? Because they can't pay him maybe? But trust me, some Nationals fan (if there are any) is suggesting it on a D.C. radio station as you're reading this.
And that brings up the biggest problem with the HTSers of the world: Their hypothetical trades are never going to happen. Coming up with fake trades is about as constructive a use of time as teaching your dog to play Hearts or trying to find out what's wrong with Mark Prior this week. For that matter while you're wasting time, you might as well try to get me to do the dishes in my kitchen sink.
Some things, friends, are just never going to happen.