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Welcome to our first BP Trade Game of 2016, in which a BP staffer is granted one major-league baseballer and fields offers from plausibly interested GMs. Our cast today:

***

By 2016, “analytics” had turned into an arms race between major-league teams, each club exploring further beyond humanity's limits to create something powerfully machine-like and infallible. The Milwaukee Brewers, led by new GM David Stearns, took perhaps the most shocking leap into the future frontier when, at the 2016 trade deadline, they removed themselves entirely from trade discussions, knowing that their own human biases might jeopardize the franchise’s ability to wring maximum value out of top trade piece Jonathan Lucroy. Instead, the trade negotiations were handled by a powerful artificial intelligence.

The Machine-Educated Neuro-Superior Algorithm, or MENSA, was to be fed more than 6 million books, billions of web pages, and transcripts from 102 episodes of Up and In as its “schooling.” Unfortunately, constructing a fully sentient and baseball-savvy AI in just a few weeks proved to be more difficult than expected. One glitch in particular, discovered a few weeks after the deadline, was that the intern who uploaded the books and other documents into MENSA’s brain had done that thing where you think you’ve selected a bunch of files, then double clicked to upload them all; but, in double clicking, accidentally deselected all but the one file that was clicked on a second time. You know what I'm talking about. You’ve all been there.

The result was that only one file was uploaded into MENSA’s brain: The Art of the Deal, by Donald Trump.

(MENSA was also able to access any information that could be Googled under its limited-data mobile plan.)

***

1. Baltimore Orioles

From: Dan Duquette

Hey Davey,

Hope you and Whitney are doing well. Wanted to check in on Lucroy—we’re pretty comfortable with Matt at 2, but figured it couldn’t hurt to check in. We’re thinking we could send Dylan Bundy and Ryan Mountcastle your way, along with Matt, in exchange for Lucroy and the balance of his contract dollars against Matt’s. I know you don’t really want Matt (great guy, though, honestly; ask about his mostaccioli) but we can’t carry him and Jonathan at the same time, and none of the other big-league pieces on our roster are expendable at the moment, given positional considerations. Let me know if you’re interested. If not, we’re comfortable sitting pretty.

—Dan

*

The pieces:

  • Dylan Bundy (RP): Five years club control remaining after 2016; 83 innings pitched over past four years; rated no. 69 prospect by Baseball Prospectus before 2016; nice; 7.8 K/9 in 2016 as reliever; 4.84 DRA; 111 cFIP; -0.0 WARP.
  • Ryan Mountcastle (SS): 2015 first-round pick (supplemental); 19yo; .278/.328/.399 in Single-A; BP’s no. 7 Orioles Prospect (2016).
  • Matt Wieters (C): Free agent after 2016; Scott Boras agent; 30.
  • Whitney: Future life partner of human David Stearns; marriage scheduled for July 2017.
  • Mostaccioli: Rhomboid-shaped pastry from Naples; Christmas sweet.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hey Danny,

The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without. Leverage: Don’t make deals without it.

You are pretty comfortable with Matt at 2. I have no leverage in this trade, so I won't make deals with you.

—Brewers

***

2. Seattle Mariners

From: Jerry Dipoto

Hey David,

I heard you’re shopping Lucroy, so I thought I’d offer you Adam Lind back! Kidding. You got the better of me in that deal, for sure, but that’s not going to stop me from going after a guy who might be just the piece to push us over the edge and into serious contention. I’d hate to waste this Cano-Cruz-Felix-Seager window that feels like it’s open now, but might not be for all that much longer. Considering just how weak we’ve been behind the plate this year, I think (hope?) we can work something out. I can offer you a package that should play a similar role for you in the future when you’re hitting your window: Luiz Gohara and Drew Jackson. I know neither is particularly close to the majors, but nothing should stop them from being right there when you need them in just a couple years. Also, I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were you just with Martin Maldonado catching (and not much in Colorado Springs to call up), so I’ll throw in Chris Iannetta.

So, what do you think? If this isn’t quite what you’re looking for, I hope you’ll let me know so I can put something together that suits you better.

—Jerry

*

The pieces:

  • Luiz Gohara (P): 19 years old; 11.5 K/9 in A- and A this year; 1.69 ERA; 1.nice; mid-90s velo from huge frame; $800,000 signing bonus; BP’s no. 3 Mariners prospect (2016).
  • Drew Jackson (SS): 2015 fifth-rounder out of Stanford; 22; .273/.345/.369 line in Cal League; 47 steals (4 CS) in 59 short-season games last year, but only 10 of 18 this year; .954 fielding percentage as SS; BP’s no. 7 Mariners prospect (2016).
  • Chris Iannetta (C): Owed $2 million this year, with $4.25 million team option; -1.5 WARP in 2016; 2.5 WARP since 2014; -100 career framing runs; 33 years old.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hey Jerry,

Much as it pays to emphasize the positive, there are times when the only choice is confrontation. In most cases I’m very easy to get along with. I’m very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard. Even in elementary school, I was a very assertive, aggressive kid. In the second grade, I actually gave a teacher a black eye—I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music. It’s clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a very forceful way. The difference now is that I like to use my brain instead of my fists.

Jerry, you're a good guy and I like you a lot. But if you don't do better than this I'm going to start a rumor that you guys put chicken feed in your hot dogs, and people will believe me because I'll call you Chicken Feed'n Jerry 35 times a day in public. I need something I can sell to my owner; he gets the concept of a rebuild, but we're not the Astros over here. I need a real name. So: Replace "Chris Iannetta" with "Taijuan Walker" and I can at least take it into the board room. You want Lucroy, and you don't want the nasty chicken feed thing going around, so this seems like an easy decision.

—Brewers

*

From: Jerry Dipoto

Yikes—Walker's a name, alright. I get it, though; you're not exclusively looking for future components, you want a "right-now" contributor, too. I can include Walker if you can send Josh Hader back along with Lucroy. I'll make it your call on whether you want Iannetta or not, since having Lucroy and Zunino would make him an afterthought for us. What do you think?

*

From: Brewers

I will not accept your offer. However, because of your fair dealing, I will not go out of my way to ruin your reputation.

***

3. Chicago White Sox

From: Rick Hahn

Hey Mr. Stearns, it’s Rick Hahn. Yes. That Rick Hahn.

I have heard through the grapevine that you have a catcher by the name of Jonathan Lucroy on the trade market. Call us delusional if you want, but we believe we are still firmly in the playoff race, and we believe Mr. Lucroy could be a big part of the future.

In return for Mr. Lucroy, we offer you the following players:

Let’s start at the top. Carson Fulmer is one of the most electric pitching prospects in baseball. The fastball is plus-plus, the curve isn’t far from that, and he’ll throw a decent enough change to keep hitters off those two pitches. You’ve seen him dominate the big leagues already, yes? He can do that in your rotation if you say yes to that trade.

Spencer Adams doesn’t have the same electricity as Mr. Fulmer, but he’s another guy who will pitch in your rotation in the coming years. He pounds the strike zone with four unique pitches, and two of those pitches—the fastball and slider—flash plus. He’s not going to miss a ton of bats, but we all know there’s value in a high-ceiling pitcher. Here’s your high-ceiling pitcher.

On top of two outstanding pitching prospects, we’re gonna give you a fun lottery ticket in Mr. Hawkins. Yes, the stats are bad, but we screwed some things up, Mr. Stearns. We promoted him to High-A way too soon, and screwed up some developmental stuff. We think a change of scenery is going to do him a world of good; there’s still plus power here and he’s a good enough athlete to handle the corner outfield.

To get the deal done, we’ll also give you Peter; a guy who has taken big strides forward the last couple of years. This is a guy who is still relatively new to full-time position playing, but he’s shown feel for the barrel from the left side, and he’ll work counts. There’s not much power here, but he makes up for it in our opinion with the ability to get on. He’s a competent defender all over the infield, and even if he can’t play second or third every day, he’s custom-made to be a quality middle-infielder.

We believe this trade to be a fair and accurate representation of the value of Mr. Lucroy. We look forward to hearing back from you with a yes and perhaps a hug.

—Rick Hahn

*

The pieces:

  • Carson Fulmer (P): Eighth-overall pick in 2015; missed BP top 101; BP’s no. 2 White Sox prospect (2016); 22yo; has made MLB debut; 4.76 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 5.3 BB/9 in Double-A this year; great stuff, icky command/mechanics.
  • Spencer Adams (P): BP’s no. 3 White Sox prospect (2016); skinny control lefty; 20yo; in High-A.
  • Courtney Hawkins (OF): Toolsy bust; 22yo; .215/.264/.359 in Double-A this year; second year in Double-A.
  • Jake Peter (IF): BP’s no. 7 White Sox prospect (2016); .301/.376/.411 in Double- and Triple-A this year; former seventh-rounder; has played every position except catcher; probably willing to catch.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hey Mr. Hahn, it's the Brewers. Yes. Those Brewers.

You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliever the goods, people will eventually catch on. Ronald Reagan is an example. He is so smooth and so effective a performer that he completely won over the American people. Only now, nearly seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there’s anything beneath that smile.

You're offering me a reliever, a guy who stalled, literally Courtney Hawkins, and a double-first namer. We believe this trade to be a fair and accurate representation of the value of your farm system, but not Mr. Lucroy.

—Milwaukee Brewers

***

4. Houston Astros

From: Jeff Luhnow

David,

We were thinking something like Colin Moran, Miguel Sierra, and Albert Abreu.

This trade makes sense for us with the recent signings of Gurriel as Moran does not have much space left, and gives you a ready big leaguer, along with two high-end young prospects. Abreu has shined in the MWL so far, and Sierra has been just the type of low-minors high-ceiling player you look for. We don't *need* Lucroy with Gattis and Castro around, but a trade like this makes sense for both sides.

*

The pieces:

  • Colin Moran (3B): 23 yo; former sixth-overall pick (2013); BP’s no. 7 Astros prospect (2016); .280/.343/.387 in PCL this year; .105/.150/.105 in 20 MLB PA; contact hitter with below-average speed, range, power.
  • Miguel Sierra (SS): 18yo; $1M signing bonus; .286/.368/.643 in Appy; eight homers in 84 AB; BP’s no. 10 Astros prospect (2016).
  • Albert Abreu (P): 20yo; 4.05 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 5.0 BB/9 in Midwest League; left off Astros’ top 10 (2016); sits mid-90s from high-effort delivery; 6-foot-2 and lean; “Future mid-rotation starter if figures out command.”

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Jeff,

The key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.

I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

I don't know why I'm telling you this, to be honest, but now you know. Now, Jeff: C'mon. It's Jonathan Lucroy! If he were on a contender this year, he'd be in the thick of the MVP race. By WARP, he's been as good the past five years as Josh Donaldson—and don't give me that "well, if you believe framing stats" nonsense, because I know you and I know you do! Lucroy's produced twice as many wins since Altuve came into the league as Altuve has. Think about what you'd ask for if somebody wanted the next year and a half of Altuve right now. Now double it. You can do better, Jeff. You're a great GM who can and will do better if you put your heart into this. I believe in you.

*

***

5. New York Mets

From: Sandy Alderson

David,

I write in hopes of gaining some clarity in negotiations regarding Jonathan Lucroy in advance of Sunday's trade deadline. As I recall, we were pretty close to a similar deal with Milwaukee for a similar hitter centered around Zack Wheeler last year. Wheeler would still be a name we could move as a centerpiece, along with a package of three of our top upper-minors prospects: Dom Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini. We'd also add Kevin Plawecki; we think he would be a good fit for the Brewers, since we know you love catcher framing and his bat might benefit from a change of scenery and consistent playing time.

Do you have any interest in moving any of your other pieces? I would have some inclination to work out a bigger package if we could find a fit. We've talked Jeremy Jeffress recently, of course. Oh, how I wish you had a starting pitcher who could replace Harvey that was better than my internal options. Have anyone offering you that kind of pitcher where we could work a three-team deal, perhaps? Let me know where your head is at.

Salutations,

Sandy Alderson

P.S. That whole Gomez thing sure worked out well for everyone except poor Luhnow, right? Send your ownership my apologies again once over the media kerfluffle.

*

The pieces:

  • Zack Wheeler (SP): Arbitration after this season; three years club control; returning from Tommy John surgery/prolonged recovery; throwing bullpens. Once was top-10 prospect; 100 ERA+ in 285 career MLB innings.
  • Dom Smith (1B): Drafted 11th overall in 2013; BP’s no. 5 prospect in Mets’ system (2016); controversial prospect; low-power first baseman.
  • Brandon Nimmo (OF): Drafted 13th overall in 2011 draft; BP’s no. 6 prospect in Mets’ system (2016); controversial prospect; does a bit of everything, might be fourth outfielder.
  • Gavin Cecchini (SS): Drafted 12th overall in 2012; BP’s no. 4 prospect in Mets’ system (2016); controversial prospect; better stats than tools.
  • Kevin Plawecki (C): 25yo, five years of club control after 2016, erstwhile PECOTA darling, good framer, .210/.288/.283 hitter in the majors (114 games), 2.4 WARP (all defense); roughly 5 projected WARP before free agency.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Sandy,

I go to our conference room to look at slides of potential Christmas decorations for the atrium in Trump Tower. The spectacular six-story marble atrium has become one of the leading tourist attractions in New York City. More than 100,000 people a week come from all over the world to see it and shop in it, and it’s now a symbol of the Trump Organization. That’s why I still get involved in details like what Christmas decorations we should use. I don’t like most of what I’m shown. Finally, I see a huge and magnificent gold wreath for the entrance to the building, and decide we should use just that. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes—less is more.

Salutations,

Milwaukee Brewers

P.S. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage.

***

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

From: Farhan Zaidi

Hello David, I've got a proposal for you that I believe will benefit both our teams. In return for Jonathan Lucroy we offer Yasiel Puig and Austin Barnes. In Puig you get a young player that, when right, has MVP potential and is under a very favorable contract. For a small market team going through a rebuild, who would generate more buzz, your current right fielder, Ramon Flores, or Yasiel Puig? Also, Barnes is not just a throw in. He's a major league ready catcher who is versatile enough to also play infield and outfield. You get to upgrade two positions while giving up a player that, in all likelihood, would be gone after next year anyway.

-Farhan Zaidi

*

The pieces:

  • Yasiel Puig (RF): Owed $21 million through 2018; team control in 2019; 2.8 WARP in 156 games from 2015-2016; drives too fast
  • Austin Barnes (C/UT): Six years club control remaining after 2016; 26 years old; 30 major-league games in career; .299/.383/.454 in Triple-A this year.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hello Farhan,

The dollar always talks in the end. I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should. When I was building low-income housing, the most important thing was to get it built quickly, inexpensively, and adequately, so you could rent it out and make a few bucks.

Farhan, let's be real for a second: A dollar means a lot more to me than it does to you, so throw a bunch of money in and my boss will give me a promotion and your boss will just figure you just had to spend it before it got moldy. How much you willing to throw in to add a little step to this jig?

-Milwaukee Brewers

*

From: Farhan

David,

Yes, we have money. Unfortunately, the majority is earmarked for hiring every former general manager we know. I was, however, able to scrape up enough that would allow us to pay the remainder of Puig's 2016 salary. Lets get this done.

-Farhan

*

From: Brewers

Farhan,

Looks like your offer got cut off before you said "and take Matt Garza off your hands," right?

*

7. Boston Red Sox

From: Dave Dombroski

Hi David –

I was out shopping for some new checkered suits and turtlenecks, when it occurred to me that Jonathan Lucroy would be a good fit in Boston. However, given our current catching situation, for a move to really make sense for us would require you having interest in Blake Swihart. What would you think about Swihart plus a low-level prospect—like, say, Single-A pitcher Roniel Raudes—for Lucroy? You get a long-term replacement behind the plate with plenty of upside offensively and a young arm worth taking a flier on.

Let me know,

Dave Dombrowski

*

The pieces:

  • Blake Swihart (C/LF): 24yo; likely five years club control after 2016; 2011 first-round pick; top-20 prospect before 2015; career .244 TAv; below-average framer/defender in the majors; recovering from severe ankle sprain.
  • Roniel Raudes: 18yo; 4.32 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 in A-Ball; 18yo; born after Titanic came out.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hi David –

Leverage often requires imagination, and salesmanship. In other words, you have to convince the other guy it’s in his interest to make the deal. When I bought the West Side railyards, I didn’t name the project Television City by accident, and I didn’t choose the name because I think it’s pretty. I did it to make a point. Keeping the television networks in New York—and NBC in particular—is something the city very much wants to do. Losing a network to New Jersey would be a psychological and economic disaster.

Sandy Leon, Dave. Sandy Leon. Your catching situation is a 27-year-old with a career 78 OPS+. It's your club and it's your market, and I'll leave it to you to decide how long a leash the city of Boston is going to give you, but… well, Dave, when you think of Boston do you think of long leashes? Remember when you were hired to be the boss of the GM who won the World Series less than two years earlier? Okay, I guess I won't leave it to you to decide how long a leash the city of Boston is going to give you.

Look: You think Swihart and kid who can't grow a mustache is enough for Lucroy, fine. But let's kill the "given our current catching situation" fluff. You have a pitching staff in desperate need of a leader like Lucroy, and a lineup that is going to say SANDY LEON for the next three months if you're not careful. They'll never forgive you if Sandy Leon's 0-for-13 gets you knocked out of the ALDS. They'll rename the airport after you if you get Lucroy and win the World Series. It's Boston, Dave. Don't underestimate the job you took.

Let me know,

Milwaukee Brewers

*

8. Chicago Cubs

From: Jed Hoyer

David,

I’d like to open a line of discussion regarding Jonathon Lucroy. Our catching position has been a bit in flux this season, and we value the stability a player of his caliber inherently provides. We’re also hoping to shore up our bullpen for the stretch run, and we want to acquire big-league relief help as well.

To that end, I’m offering you Jeimer Candelario, Miguel Montero, and Carson Sands in exchange for Lucroy and Tyler Thornburg. Taking a glance at your organizational depth chart, I felt that you might like to upgrade at third. Candelario is big-league ready and he’s our best farmhand at the position. And while I hate to lose a young lefty with four pitches like Sands, I’m hope that including an arm can help offset the reliever in the package.

Oh, and don’t worry about the money on Montero or Lucroy; we’ll cover it.

Let me know what you think,

Jed Hoyer

*

The pieces:

  • Miguel Montero (C): Under contract through 2017; 32yo; .189/.315/.324 this year; consistently above-average defender; 5.3 WARP in 1.5 seasons as Cub;
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B): Omitted from Cubs’ top 10 (2016); 22yo; .302/.420/.521 in Triple-A this year; career .264/.346/.411 as MiLB; made MLB debut.
  • Carson Sands (P): Omitted from Cubs’ top 10 (2016); fourth-rounder in 2013; former sleeper but struggling badly since last year; 21yo with 5.3 K/ and 4.7 BB/9 in MWL.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Jed,

I think of Jimmy Carter. After he lost the election to Ronald Reagan, Carter came to see me in my office. He told me he was seeking contributions to the Jimmy Carter Library. I asked how much he had in mind. And he said, “Donald, I would be very appreciative if you contributed five million dollars.” I was dumbfounded. I didn’t even answer him. But that experience taught me something. Until then, I’d never understood how Jimmy Carter became president. The answer is that as poorly qualified as he was for the job, Jimmy Carter had the nerve, the guts, the balls, to ask for something extraordinary. That ability above all helped him get elected.

Jed, you're thisclose to getting the best player on the market, and one of the best players in baseball. Just throw in Javier Baez and Jorge Soler and I can take it to my owner. Holler back before I just go ahead and accept the Mets' offer. Don't worry, I'm sure it won't be you and them in the NLCS again this year.

Let me know what you think,

Milwaukee Brewers

*

David,

It doesn't sound like I'm all that close then. I can add Jeffrey Baez and Zach Hedges if you need more youth, but I need to save as many big league reinforcements as possible.

*

Jed,

Sometimes it pays to be a little wild.

***

9. Texas Rangers

From: Jon Daniels

Hi David,

I know our initial discussions about Jonathan Lucroy haven't been terribly fruitful. I'd like to hit the reset button, and lay out the best package I'm prepared to offer for Lucroy. We're getting a little creative at this end of the line. Hoping it's something you'll appreciate.

We're prepared to offer three players in exchange for Lucroy, who we feel is the piece that could put us over the top, securing the AL West this season and positioning us well going into next year. One prospect we're ready to offer is Josh Morgan, from our High Desert club. As for the other two, bigger pieces: we're ready to let you order off the menu.

You can choose one of Joey Gallo, Ronald Guzman, and Jurickson Profar. You can also choose one of Yohander Mendez and Luis Ortiz. If you'd prefer, you can have both pitchers, but only one of the position players is available in this trade offer.

Let us know what you think.

-JD

*

The pieces:

  • Joey Gallo (3B): 22yo; six years club control after 2016; 80 power; no. 12 on mid-season top 50; .202/.298/.413 as major-leaguer; .257/.372/.594 as minor leaguer.
  • Josh Morgan (INF): 2014 third-rounder; 20yo; .280/.354/.389 in High-A this year; BP’s no. 7 prospect (2016); was supposed to convert to catching, didn’t.
  • Luis Ortiz (P): 2014 first-rounder; 20yo; 3.44 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 between High- and Double-A this year; BP’s no. 5 Rangers prospect (2016); no. 48 on midseason top 50 (2016); “works into the mid-90s with his fastball, and between that and a bat-missing slider, he has the one-two punch to thrive as a second or third starter. He throws strikes, too.”

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Hi, Jon,

I asked Norma Foerderer, my executive assistant, to bring me lunch: A can of tomato juice. I rarely go out, because mostly, it’s a waste of time.

Let's just say you're awfully close (Gallo+Ortiz+Morgan). Let's just further say that it'd save me a lot of time if I didn't have to spend a bunch of time shopping Will Smith around, especially because nobody is going to need him as much as you do. I'm a very, very, very, very, very, very, very busy man, busier than anybody probably, so if you were to add a Will Smith component to your offer it just might set you apart from the New Yorks and Los Angeleses of the world. Holler back!

-MB

*

From: Jon Daniels

You package-pushing son of a bitch. Alright, you've hooked me. I can offer Andrew Faulkner (we still believe in the stuff, but Big Willie would replace him in our bullpen anyway) and Ariel Jurado. Loath to surrender Jurado, love the profile, but I'm under some pressure to do this right right now. The Astros have a bunch of long-term flexibility I don't have; these next two years are a window.

***

10. Cleveland Indians

From: Mike Chernoff

sorry 4 brevity, emailing from phone

zimmer+yan gomes+ptbnl for lucroy

or i need pen help too fr the stretch

zimmer+bradley+sheffield+allen for lucroy+will smith

hope things are good

Chernoff

Sent from my iPhone

*

The pieces:

  • Bradley Zimmer (CF): BP’s no. 27 midseason prospect; 23 years old; .249/.366/.477 in Double-A; uninformed idiot: “Reminds me of a young Michael Tucker.”
  • Yan Gomes (C): Owed $21 million through 2019, club options for 2020 and 2021; 28 years old; .165/.198/.313 in 2016; 9.4 WARP in 2013-2014; -0.9 since 2015; below-average framing; sacrificed Boston Market chicken, immediately injured self.
  • PTBNL: Player To Be Named Later; could turn out to be Trea Turner?

and

  • Bobby Bradley (1B): Fringe top-100 prospect; 20yo; 2014 third-rounder; .265/.381/.498 in High-A.
  • Justus Sheffield (P): Fringe top-100 prospect; 20yo; 2014 first-rounder; 3.53 ERA, 8.8 K/9 in High-A.
  • Greg Allen (CF): Omitted from BP’s top 10 Cleveland prospects (2016); 23 yo; 2014 sixth-rounder; .298/.423/.398 in High-A; 113 SB, 28 CS, in 270 MiLB games.

*

From: Milwaukee Brewers

So, Alan Greenberg calls. We’ve bought another 100,000 shares of Holiday, and the stock is up another point and a half. Trading is very active. I tell Alan I’ve heard that the top guys at Holiday are in a panic and that they’re holding emergency meetings to discus how to react to me. Alan says he thinks Holiday will enact some kind of “poison pill” as a way of fending off any attempts I make at a hostile takeover. Our call lasts less than two minutes. That’s one thing I love about Alan: he never wastes time.

Cher, I like that you come to do business. Lot of these jokers out here don't want to make deals, they just want to say they were in on somebody so they can see their names on MLBTR. That's not you. I like that.

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.

Unless the PTBNL is going to later be named Trevor Bauer, then, this isn't enough to get it done, which is a shame because your club winning the Series would be a great story, and because you're in a position where, if you're not careful, Yan Gomes is going to be healthy enough to play again soon. I've got plenty of offers and if you want to roll the dice on your lineup as it is, hey, the pressure's got to be pretty low over there in Cleveland so I understand. But if we're going to shake on something, the Lucroy offer should look a lot more like the -and-Smith offer, and there should be a "But wait, there's more!" at the end of it.

***

The decision!

From: Milwaukee Brewers

Some people have a sense of the market and some people don’t. Steven Spielberg has it. Lee Iacocca of Chrysler has it, and so does Judith Krantz in her way. Woody Allen has it, for the audience he cares about reaching, and so does Sylvester Stallone, at the other end of the spectrum. Some people criticize Stallone, but to me he’s a diamond-in-the-rough type, a genius purely by instinct. He knows what the public wants and he delivers it.

I like to think I have that instinct. That’s why I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don’t trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions. When I’m in another city and I take a cab, I’ll always make it a point to ask the cabdriver questions. I ask and I ask, until I begin to get a gut feeling about something. And that’s when I make a decision.

I have learned much more from conducting my own random surveys than I could ever have learned from the greatest consulting firms. They send a crew of people down from Boston, rent a room in New York, and charge you $100,000 for a lengthy study. In the end, it has no conclusion and takes so long to complete that if the deal you were considering was a good one, it will be long gone.

Congratulations, Jon Daniels. You get Jon Lucroy. I just made you great again.

Thanks to Craig Goldstein, Mark Anderson and James Fisher for consulting on trade proposals. All MENSA quotes are direct Art of the Deal quotes, except where obvious by inclusion of baseball names.