Trader’s, Here’s Your Sign!
Comedian Bill Engvall has made a long career noting the usual and unusual that myself and our neighbors here in th South do every day in his classic comedy routine and song “Here’s Your Sign”. But I think it would be so much better if we could all 30 MLB clubs right now to even post some kind of sign somewhere in the ballpark where the fans and the other teams can see it to even have a faint idea of what is going on as we come into turn 4 of the Trading Deadline. Yes, I just made a NASCAR reference………….Here’s your sign!
I mean this is the time of the year where we want to know if our team is “Closed” for business and basically set for the last run of the season, and that other teams should not even waste their AT&T rollover minutes, because we do not want to wheel and deal to ruin the chemistry of the team. Who is truly to say who is a “Buyer” or even a “Seller” right now without a For Sale or even a Closed sign dangling off the GM’s desk or mounted somewhere near the owner’s box of a stadium. If need be, we can always go down to the stadium receiving dock and get some cardboard, a sharpie and make the sign for you………..Here’s Your Sign!
But then there are teams that acting like they are game meister Monte Hall and have options from behind the curtain in a suspected trade. They are not being totally upfront and showing their true cards right now. I think that is the option being handed out in Toronto right now. They want a King’s Ransom for a “Doc”. Is it worth it? Can it be done without crippling my farm system for 4 seasons? And will they throw in a parting fit if we leave the sweepstakes as losers? If you think they will offer minor league pieces as consolation prizes………Here’s Your Sign!
But how can we tell if a team is just teasing the market or just might be testing the waters? Maybe a sign in glitter and gold leaf made on a sheet of pewter would indicate it is going to take a blockbuster deal. Or maybe just a simple Lowe’s/Home Depot bought “Clearance” sign if you are just shaving some dollar signs off your budget and want to look frugal doing it. Or maybe you are in the running right now for quality,not quantity. This type of team could sport a “In Search of…” sign with a big enough space for other teams to fill in the blank with their guys names who are on the block. But then again, you could be upfront and just list your shopping list and make it easier for team to showcase talent for you. And for those teams……………Here’s Your Sign!
And that is the hard thing to read at this juncture in the Trade Deadline. You hear multiple arrangements with several teams for the same guy. It is not like the guy is a slaughtered steer that can be portioned off and deliver to prospective buyers without anyone knowing the difference. Teams have poked and checked out the “meat” to be sure they are getting their dollars worth. Some teams have even been bold enough to say they are on the fence right now as to their indication to be on the buying or selling end of the market. Well, you better decide quick Mr Man before the market flies by you and you are stuck with that $ 3.5 million reliever you wanted to sell so bad this summer. If you get stuck holding onto him because you are shy……….Here’s Your Sign!
Okay,let’s take the Player du Jour, Cleveland Indian pitcher Cliff Lee as an example here. And I did not pick him because I like his first name. He currently has about 5 teams that are kicking his tires trying to find the right combination of talent and maybe even money to pick him off the “For Sale” rack in the Indians Team Store. And there is a standing line of teams that are eager and willing to fork over a bevy of prospects, and maybe a MLB ready guy to get the former AL Cy Young winner. But what if this is a ploy by the Indians front office to pick and choose their trade partners for the Fall, and not at this moment. If that is the true actions, then I have no problem saying to you…………Here’s Your Sign!
And just the fact that Lee makes every staff in the league, even Boston’s better by just walking into the clubhouse should be an indication of the power that this guy can have on the last two months of the season. But don’t you think there should be a sign around his neck like the options sticker on the back window of a car telling you what it is going to take for you to drive him off the lot and into your rotation? I seem to think that the requirements and the needed players to complete a deal anymore depend on how many times an hour the phone is going to ring in the GM’s office. If the interest is heavy, the price goes up. If it is light, well then he becomes a bargain basement piece.
Since when should a baseball player or even a car be subject to the amount of calls or responses via the Internet to the price. Well, that kind of dealing did make the guys who started E Bay millionaires……………..Here’s Your Sign!
We know certain teams that are in the “Buyers” market right now. Anyone within 5 to 6 games of the division top spot or Wild Card is clamering to find the pieces to boost their squad towards the champagne wishes and Skoal dreams. And I am totally fine with that. Hitting the playoff is a financial windfall for some teams, while others it is just a rite of passage. We know that the Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Rays in the AL East are looking for pieces to twist the standings in their favor over the next two months. But why is there not a sign somewhere on either Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, Yankee used car salesman Brian Cashman, or the quiet, silent guy in the corner, Rays VP Andrew Friedman’s neck? Why is there not a neon sign, or even a message board imprinted on their shirts to broadcast their intentions this week. Wait a minute, GM’s showing their intentions to the public. Oh heck, I deserve a sign for that last idea…………..Here’s My Sign!
But come on people, do we not want to know if our team is seriously going for the gusto, or just doing a Public Relation posturing move. We all know someone has to lose, but sometimes a team will thrust its nose in there with no intention of giving up the top choice cuts for a player who might just be a rental for the rest of the season, or who might financially ruin the upcoming year’s payroll. Perception might be the biggest winner or loser this week. We all know that Boston and New York are 100 percent buyers with an intention to put distance between themselves and their two biggest rivals. If they did not want to push towards the top……….You guessed it, there fans would hand deliver their signs…….Here’s Your Sign!
Maybe in the past teams in the AL East top spots might stay pat if they felt the chemistry of their teams were strong, but there is a huge bucket of cash sitting there come playoff time from concessions to ticket sales that motivate moves that two years ago might be viewed as unsound. So you buy into a player/pitcher that will help you gain 3 to 5 games. But unlike the past, those games might be the difference between a Wild Card and a Divisional title. So you nibble some from column A and maybe steal a sliver from column B to keep those players out of the competition’s fold. Some call it a shrewd business strategy, others call it raiding the cookie jar…………Here’s Your Sign!
So if you are a team like Tampa Bay who is looking for a Filet Mignon on a meatloaf budget, or maybe even a Boston or New York who will do anything to keep a guy off your foes rosters, this is the time of year to be a salesman. Sometimes these guys need to dress up in those loud suits with the bold ties and come straight at use and tell us what we need. You know the type. The guy in the used car lot that come up to you telling you “I think you would look great in this car”, and you wonder what he said to the other 30 people who looked into the windows at the interior. This is the time for deals and disappointment. Someone has to win, someone has to lose. But thank goodness they do not have a sign for that yet……….or do they? Here’s Your Sign!