You have been given a great opportunity. Do you want to be the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners?
If yes, turn to Page 2
If no, turn to Page 3
What a productive morning! You've been on the phone all day and accomplished many of your daily tasks. You even managed to switch car insurance carriers and save $58 per month. And the off-season, she is going swimmingly. A new manager is in place and you have contacted many players, teams, and agents in order to improve your team, the Seattle Mariners. Your intern, Merb del Broissant, enters your office and asks if you would like to receive your lunch now.
If you would like to have lunch, turn to Page 4
If you are too busy for lunch, turn to Page 5
"Hell no", you say, "I don't want to be the GM of the Mariners. And you have a very good reason too. The reason is:
If you think this "Choose Your Own Adventure" idea is uncreative and has been done before, turn to Page 12
If you believe you are unqualified to GM, turn to Page 43
Your stomach rumbles upon the mention of lunch. You are famished after your busy morning. You tell Merb, "Yes, please bring in my lunch". You devour your lunch and barely even taste it, which is always a good idea when Merb is in charge of providing lunch. Your stomach churns with the realization that you just broke another of the office rules when dealing with Merb, NEVER TAKE FOOD FROM MERB. What was it even, oysters, tomatoes, some sort of raw meat casserole? Oh god, a stabbing pain shoots through your abdomen.
Merb stands in the doorway, expressionless. Why do you keep this guy around? You try to stand up but collapse in a heap and vomit on your hands. "Call 911 you dolt," you scream at Merb. You see him slowly inputting numbers on an ancient brick of a cellphone, fuck, it's not even a cellphone. It's a beat up Sega Game Gear. Your head spins and you feel as if you've been gutshot. You reach for the phone on your desk and call 911 before passing out.
You awake in the hospital. It's bright in here and smells like something beautiful. You turn your head to the right and see Franklin Gutierrez in the bed next to yours. Franklin tells you that he contracted a rare Amazonian disease while making a white toast sandwich. He laughs when you tell him how you ended up here and says, "Oh that Merb." You tell him this is a fortunate meeting because you wanted to talk to him about his contract situation anyways.
If you would like to re-sign Franklin Gutierrez, turn to Page 14
If you wish Franklin luck and say there is no room for him on the Mariners, turn to Page 27
There is too much to be done, so much that needs doing. You are busy as hell. No time for breaks. You really want to hit the free agent market and do some shopping. The owners have given you a substantial budget increase in order to improve the team. The sky is nearly the limit. You are powerful and flush with cash and the free agents tremble before you. Some of them will be yours, the ones you choose, if they agree. And why would they not agree? You confidently enter the free agent market and head to the outfielder rack. "Yes...yes, we will start at the outfielder rack."
If you want to contact the agent of Shin-Soo Choo, turn to Page 8
If you want to contact the agent of Jacoby Ellsbury, turn to Page 25
"Is this the record store?"
"Nah buddy, this here is the watermelon store. Record store is down on 5th and Maple, just two blocks down on your right, next to the stop sign."
"Thank you sir, have a nice day."
"You too. Come on back if ya got a hankerin for some moist, delicious watermelon."
If you would like to continue to the record store, turn to page 101
If you would like to stay and enjoy some delicious watermelon, turn to page 114
"What's the score?"
"Are they even keeping score?"
"At least they seem evenly matched"
Shin-Soo Choo is willing to listen to your offer. He really likes you and thinks you have nice hair or a nice scalp if you don't have hair. He thinks you can build a winning ballclub and he loves the team you have already assembled. He wants to win a championship with you. But he does need to feed his family and all of his iguanas and they only eat the finest organic free-range vegetables, which are quite expensive did you know? He wants to help you. He likes you. But you need to bring a fair market offer to the plate, and then he will bring his bat to also another plate, but an actual plate.
If you would like to offer Choo 4 years and $65million, turn to Page 32
If you would like to offer Choo 6 years and $140million, turn to Page 40
"My god, do you realize what you've done," he says to you. You look around, confused, you have no idea what you've done. "You've created a perpetual click machine, the clicks will never end, forever."
"May the lord have mercy on my soul, on all our souls," you tell him. You didn't know. You just wanted to have fun and give people something to click on. So you made hyperlinks, and then hyperlinks to other pages and other pages and other hyperlinks and more clicks and more pages. You didn't think of the repercussions, you didn't know, there was no way you could know! "There was no way I could know," you plead with him. "What can I do, how can I stop it?"
"Do you know how to do html bookmarks? It's our only hope, there is nothing else we can do to stop this monster from being unleashed on the world. If we work fast, there is still hope..."
"What's a bookmark, oh no...WHAT'S A BOOKMARK? We're doomed, I don't know what that is, I can't do it, I've doomed us all, I am the xenocide."
You have appeased the gods of originality. They smile down upon you and you think they tell you to high five yourself. What the hell, you've earned it *you high five yourself*. You are their avatar and you feel infused with power and energy. You will travel the web of nets destroying all things you deem derivative and uncreative. But where to start?
As if to answer, a doorway opens to your left. The gods urge you to enter. You approach the open door and extend your hand into its glowing field- and, oh, that's odd, its pulling you in...
You can't escape-your arm is sucked in up to the shoulder, it has half your chest...IT'S A TRAP. The gods laugh as you are fully immersed in the Vortex of Procrastination. You are spinning without moving, the vortex froths around you. "Why?", you scream at the gods, "I did what you wanted". They answer in a whisper, "You asked for this and now you must leave." Three portals materialize before you and you feel the overwhelming urge to choose quickly, knowing you can never return...
The Portal of Not so Bad, Really
Did those eyes just move? Those eyes definitely just moved. And, the wind, is that wind indoors? That was definitely a breeze. You need to get out of here. There is nowhere to go. The hallway has no end. It circles this hellish place, a circle so large you see no visible bend as you look down the hallway. Each painting is unique, except for the eyes. Each set of eyes is the same. And they follow you. You continue walking because you don't know what else to do. The eyes watch you go.
You tell Franklin the good news. He smiles and coughs up a little blood. You make a mental note to lower your offer. He thanks you and says he hopes he can help the Mariners win some ballgames and he is gee-golly excited. He drifts off to sleep and you gently kiss his forehead before you walk out.
You feel much better so you decide to head back to the office. Your secretary informs you that the general managers of two other baseball teams called while you were out.
To call Miami back, turn to Page 30
To call St. Louis back, turn to Page 47
"What can I get ya to drink stranger?"
"Whiskey," you say, "cheapest you got."
"Well, there's cheap," she holds up a bottle and shakes it slightly, "and there's cheap." She pulls a large unmarked jug from under the counter. "This'll do the job I reckon."
The door behind you slams open. You hear a large party enter. A loud party. They stumble up to the bar, boots scraping on wood. "Serve it up Marlene," the loudest and drunkest man says.
"You know I can't serve you in here Pete," says Marlene.
"What the guldurn hell did you say to me?" says Pete.
You tell him that she said she won't serve him.
"You better shut that purty mouth stranger or I'll shut it for you, this ain't no part a you." Pete grabs Marlene.
If you decide to mind your own business, turn to Page 103
If you want to stand up to Pete, turn to Page 115
You think to yourself, you know who was a decent hitter for the Mariners last year, Kendrys Morales. Yeah! You offered him a qualifying offer because you wanted to keep him and also to discourage other teams from wanting to sign him. You hated to do it, because you really like Kendrys and didn't want to limit his options, but some times you have to be selfish and do what's best for the team. Kendrys wasn't bothered and although he rejected your QO, he said he wouldn't mind playing for the Mariners again. However, if he does sign with another team, you get a draft pick thanks to your skillful use of the qualifying offer. And a pretty good draft pick at that, maybe even a late 1st rounder! And it will probably take quite a bit of money to sign him again. And he is pretty limited to being only a Designated Hitter.
There are positives and negatives to each option, this is pretty difficult.
If you would like to offer a contract to Kendrys Morales, turn to Page 63
If you decide to pass on Kendrys Morales and consider other hitters, turn to Page 57
--PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK--
You're dead or whatever. A bear killed you or something. He heard you traded Seager and rushed down to your office to fuck you up. Everyone in the Front Office steps around your corpse for a few days before the smell gets to them and they call the janitor. The janitor calls the authorities to collect your carcass. No one even identifies your body at the morgue and no one comes to your funeral. In fact, they don't even have a funeral. Even your mom forgets that you were a thing called a human being. She has a vague recollection of a thing, a blob or maybe it was a hedge by the porch but she is quickly distracted by a split end and oh god, she really needs to get some better shampoo. Maybe some of those free samples they give out in magazines.
"The characterization only appears thin. It's actually quite deep, but very subtle. Each character is defined by his subconscious and the way that manifests in every day life is often hard to decipher. The relationships are what's important, and how those relationships change throughout the course of events in the main story arc. It's the little things, a facial tick here, an eyelash flick there. Really, the whole enterprise represents the anarcho-communist collective in the abstract, and how that truly is the ideal. This is meant to be contrasted with the fascist boot of oppression that they live under fear of at all times. The outside world will destroy everything you were ever meant to be and it will do it with utmost hatred and violence. It should come as no shock that this captures the zeitgeist. And that's why Fraggle Rock is the greatest artistic achievement of the modern era."
"Get the fuck out of my office Merb."
Jacoby Ellsbury is willing to listen to your offer. He really likes you and thinks you have nice hair or a nice scalp if you don't have hair. He thinks you can build a winning ballclub and he loves the team you have already assembled. He wants to win a championship with you. But he does need to feed his family and all of his iguanas and they only eat the finest organic free-range vegetables, which are quite expensive did you know? He wants to help you. He likes you. But you need to bring a fair market offer to the plate, and then he will bring his bat to also another plate, but an actual plate.
If you would like to offer Ellsbury 5 years and $85million, turn to Page 32
If you would like to offer Ellsbury 7 years and $175million, turn to Page 40
Jessica Spade sits in her dark office waiting for a phone call. A cigarette hangs from her lips, the ash threatening to break off and fall to the carpet. The streetlight outside flickers through the blinds, casting shadows on the wall. She pinches the cigarette between her fingers and removes it from her lips in order to take a swig from the glass on her desk. The ice tumbles and tinks. A silhouette appears at the door. A knock.
"Come in," she says.
A tall man with perfectly coiffed hair enters. She can tell he's a Dapper Dan man from the scent, his hair is coated in the stuff. The drape of his suit, the manicured nails, this man comes from wealth. Or pretends to. A real homme fatale. "Are you Spade?"
"Name's on the door," she says.
"My name is "INSERT YOUR NAME HERE", and I need your help."
You ask Franklin if he can walk and he says he thinks he can hobble a bit. You take him down to the hospital courtyard to break the news to him. It's sunny there and the songbirds in the trees may soften the blow. You say, "We really appreciate everything you've done for us over the years and you're a great player. We just need more certainty and your injury history and age give us some concern. I'm sure you can catch on with another team, they'll recognize your talent. I sincerely wish you luck and good fortune out there."
He smiles and a few small tears splash on the concrete. He says he understands and that he wishes he could have been better, "if only", as he trails off. His body suddenly spasms and quakes, but you catch him before he hits the ground. His quivering stops and peace falls over his face. He tells you not to blame yourself, he says it's not your fault. You see the light go out of his eyes and his chest falls motionless.
You dig the grave in the hospital courtyard with your bare hands, wiping back tears. "You would have wanted to be buried here, at the hospital, it was your favorite place," you say to the angel lying next to you. As you push dirt over Franklin you say "I'm sorry" over and over. This is your prayer to him, your eulogy. "I'm sorry."
You walk out of the hospital, covered in dirt and filled with regret. You point your feet toward the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, "that looks like a good place to walk," you say. Several days later you arrive at the walls of a great monastery. The monks can see the pain etched on your soul, you don't need to speak. They offer you a place to atone, until you are ready. You know there is nothing you can do. You know you won't leave. You know this is now your home.
You decide to pick the dandelion. There are hundreds of them and you don't think it will affect the beauty of the landscape. And it actually is quite beautiful. It's easy to pass over the small things when trudging through life. You put the dandelion into your lapel and continue the walk from your car.
Someone is going to receive some very bad news today, and you lament the fact that you are the messenger.
--PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK--
You call Miami. You know what they are offering but you don't really know what they want. Everyone knows what they are offering, no one knows what they want. You know they want baseball players, but which ones? The Marlins are giving you the first crack at acquiring Giancarlo Mike Stanton, and to make it easier on you, they are giving you their best offer up front. Stanton can be yours for the measly price of Kyle Seager, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Mike Zunino, Brad Miller, Carter Capps and Jordiball Bender Benderfiquez.
You tell them that you don't have a player named Jordiball and they scream that you better not be stingy because every team in baseball wants Stanton. This is your only chance and they are moving on if you don't act quickly.
If you want to make the trade to acquire Stanton, turn to Page 18
If you reject Miami's offer, turn to Page 5
"It's not blandness, you mistake blandness for nuance. Why overpower when you can seduce with subtlety? And the same goes for the color, plain, they call this plain? This is far from plain. This is radiant, this is an undiluted rainbow, the source of all color. And the texture, silky smooth but firm. Tough, but sensuous. Feel it give between your fingers, feel it spring back? That's not by accident. That's the effort of thousands of years of human civilization, all working together toward a common goal. This goal. This is perfection. This is god. And that's why I only buy Wonder Bread."
"You've been warned Merb, get out of my fucking office."
You've offended him. He thought you wanted to win but this is your offer? This is insulting. This is just not a good offer. He is seriously doubting your will to win. He's not even sure if he can play for you now. Is this really your best offer?
If this is your best and final offer, turn to Page 40
If you would like to increase your offer, turn to Page 34
The man sits in front of you on a park bench. You came early to scope out the meeting place, but he was earlier. A professional then, it's good you decided to come. A professional wouldn't waste his time with a fake claim of blackmail. You were undecided, but you decide to pay him for the compromising photos. How embarrassing, the general manager of the Seattle Mariners wearing Pittsburgh Pirates underoos. You can't let those pictures hit the streets.
"I'm glad you came to your senses," he says calmly. "The price has doubled, it's now two million dollars."
Your mouth hangs open, this is bullshit. You tell him that he can't do that, you agreed to a price, you can't get your hands on another million dollars. You click the emergency signal to bring in your security force. "I told you to come alone," he screams. He whips out a silenced pistol and dispatches the closest security guard. In quick succession he takes out the rest. Your second security force is on its way, tracking your GPS signal. He is out of bullets and starts to reload.
If you stand still and wait for backup, turn to Page 42
If you push the man, grab the photos and run, turn to Page 70
It's a good thing you increased your offer, because he almost walked away from the negotiating table. Now we can start to get closer to some numbers that work for both parties. His agent has advised him to counter-offer your new offer and ask for more money and more years. This is still about winning, but you have to be fair, and you have to pay market value. He agrees there is some history there, and some sentimental reasons for wanting to play for the Mariners, but he has to feed his family and other teams are offering him the chance to feed his family more and better. Are you willing to increase the years and money on your contract offer?
If this is your best and final offer, turn to Page 40
If you would like to increase your offer, turn to Page 32
That's a lot of money. And you are loaded at that position. What the fuck? That's a ton of money to commit to a position that you are loaded at. You already have players to fill that position. Why do you want to spend all that money on a position that is already covered? That is way too much money. What are you going to do with the players that are already on the Mariners that play that position? You should be more careful in free agency, this is a very dangerous game you are playing. You already have a guy that plays there. That is so much money, it may cripple the franchise for years. You should reconsider this decision. You should think about this before you go through with it. That's a lot of money. Why don't you think about this some more. You are covered at that position. Maybe you should come back to this decision when you have a clear mind. Wow, tons of money to sign that guy. And at a position you don't need. Have you thought this through? Are you sure you want to do this?
I changed my mind, I don't want to sign this player. turn to Page 66
I'm sure, I want to sign this player. turn to Page 63
--PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK--
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Success! You have successfully negotiated a contract that works for all parties. He really wanted more money and some more long term security, but your commitment to winning and skillful negotiation tactics convinced him to sign with you. He can't wait to get into camp and earn his contract and prove your faith in him. He has invited you to a BBQ at his house in order to celebrate your new and successful relationship. You love BBQ but have to decline because you really can't get away right now. You promise that you will make it up to him after you've finished building a 2014 World Series contender. He yips with excitement at your confidence.
You get back to work. But you aren't sure what you should focus on now. You have a great hitter in the fold, but you can never have enough good hitters. The pitching could also use some help even though the strength of your farm system is in young pitching.
If you would like to focus on pitching, turn to Page 54
If you would like to acquire some more hitters, turn to Page 16
"Aloha friend", says a long-haired man as you enter "The Haren Museum of Coiled Pottery." You say, "umm, helloha." He asks if you are interested in historical or modern coiled pottery and he audibly hisses when you say "neither." As you walk through the museum the man follows you at a distance and continues to hiss at a low volume. When you stop to look at a piece, he circles around to the opposite side of the pedestal and hisses more forcefully and shakes his head back and forth. You quickly walk to the back of the museum looking for the supposed proprietor, Major League Baseball pitcher Dan Haren.
From an open doorway in the back you hear a mechanical whirring sound. You approach the door and peer in. Dan Haren sits at a pottery wheel, gazing intently at his bare feet as he uses them to shape the clay into an extremely large pot. It is a rather crappy and misshapen attempt at pottery, but considering the method, admirable. Your presence breaks Dan's concentration and as he looks up at you his pot spins apart and falls off the wheel.
"Sorry about that, but if I'm not mistaken, the coil method doesn't use a pottery wheel," you say. Dan's eyes well up, but shame holds the tears in. "I'm a fraud," he says, "I can't make coils."
You tell him it's okay and that you aren't here to talk about pottery. You tell him you want him to pitch for the Mariners next season. He shakes his head and says that life is behind him now. "I'm a potter now. I don't know that any amount of money could put me back on the mound, not even 11.2 million dollars with performance incentives. What would happen to my pots?"
If you would like to offer Haren $11.3 million plus incentives and a dedicated ceramics room at Safeco, turn to Page 91
If you agree with Haren's decision to walk away, turn to Page 58
The man stares at you as he slowly reloads.
"It was never about the money," he says. "This has gotten too complicated, and you've seen me do bad crimes, real bad."
He fires two shots into your heart. You fall to the ground. With your last thought you realize you forgot to wash your underoos, the paramedics are going to see your dirty underoos.
You're right, you are completely unqualified. You are really terrible at almost everything and that's why no one loves you. You hate to have fun and believe that pretending is a form of gambling. Gambling with your imagination is dangerous. The good news is that you know your limits and faults and that is the first step on the path to self-improvement. You may be boring, but at least you will live a long life, and that's what counts most in life. You will not regret this decision because you don't have regrets. You stare at the blank white wall in front of you.
You call the Cardinals GM, John Mozeliak. He asks if would you be interested in acquiring arguably the best prospect in baseball at a position of great need for you? His name is Oscar Taveras and he is an outfielder and don't you need outfielders quite desperately and he sure is swell. Maybe the swellest. Mozeliak is sick of David Freese now that his clutch is gone and he needs a 3B. He likes your 3rd baseman, some older guy named Kale Steeger, but he doesn't love him. He's actually not sure if he likes him now. Can't even remember his name anymore. But he's willing to take him off your hands since he might become a troublemaker, in fact, he heard some disturbing rumblings on that account. Rumblings that are making him reconsider his offer. Do you want this amazing Taveras kid for your trouble-making 3B, whatever his name is, he's really helping you out with this offer and he might get in trouble with his bosses. He's really going out on a limb here to help you out.
Do you want to trade Kyle Seager for Oscar Taveras?
If you want to do the trade, turn to Page 18
If you decline the trade offer, turn to Page 51
You would like to do the trade, but you don't want to make a hole to fill a hole. You like the deal, but you fucking love Kyle Seager. You're never trading Kyle Seager. You look up at the clock and are happy to see there is plenty of time left to get some more work done. But what to do next?
If you would like to call Miami back, turn to Page 30
If you would like to explore the free agent market, turn to Page 5
The fire is down to embers now. Embers amidst ash. The cold closes in, fighting the darkness for your attention. Wolves howl in the distance, but you'll be long dead before they arrive. This isn't a bad death. There are worse ways to go. You feel nothing in your extremities, and you are tired. So tired. Your focus falls on the last bright ember, staring into it you feel calm.
You aren't supposed to be here. You don't belong here.
You decide to work on improving your pitching. You really like your rotation but it's always a good idea to build depth and have someone to push the young guys to improve. The team could really use a strong #3 starter to pair with the excellent Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
And boy do you ever have an amazing idea for who that #3 starter could be. A player that Mariners fans have coveted for nearly a decade. A former Cy Young award winner and interesting fellow. The one and only Tim Lincecum. The local guy, returning home as a hero. And the rumor is he could be had for a decent contract. He's a great bounce back candidate they say. His peripherals don't match his results they say. He was a star, and he can be again.
If you would like to try and sign Tim Lincecum, turn to Page 83
If you would like to try and sign a different pitcher, turn to Page 68
Kendrys is probably going to be too expensive for what he provides and there are loads of hitters available on the market right now. And when he signs with another team that high draft pick should really pay off. You wish him luck on the free agent market and he thanks you for giving him a beautiful place to ply his trade for a year.
You peruse the market and exclaim when you see Robinson Cano sitting on a small folding table next to some lava lamps and decorative spoons. The Yankees let Cano go, you say? There must be a mistake. You ask him if he is the real Robinson Cano, the star 2nd baseman Robinson Cano and one of the better players in baseball. He looks up at you, there is a dirt smudge on his face and he looks hungry. He says he is the real Cano and he needs a new home. You check his certificate of authenticity and confirm that it actually is him. You can't believe your luck and you ask Robinson how much money he would like to come play for the Mariners. You explain to him that you are building a winner and you would like him to be part of it. You already have two second basemen, but you can always make room for a hitter of this caliber.
And then Cano drops the hammer. He will require 10 years and $300million to play for you. That is why the Yankees don't want him, that is why he is sad. That is a lot of money. And the Yankees gave him a qualifying offer so you will have to surrender a high draft pick. Sometimes you wish you had gone into carpentry like your father, and his father before him. This is hard.
If you would like to offer Robinson Cano a contract, turn to Page 37
If you would like to move on and consider other hitters, turn to Page 71
You apologize for bringing up baseball. Dan shakes his head and says, "No, it's okay, it's okay. I have to learn to deal with this, you won't be the last."
You walk up to the wheel next to Dan, remove your shoes and sit down on the stool. You say, "I can help you, but first you have to show me how to spin this thing without using my feet."
Dan smiles and pats you on the shoulder, "It's harder than pitching baseballs, but if you're patient, I will teach you."
Damn it! The Rangers bid $95 million for Tanaka. And they finished in 2nd place. The Yankees bid a whopping $118 million just to negotiate with him. And then signed him for another $90 million. This just sucks. This is irritating. You had a ridiculous offer. Sometimes things just aren't fair. This is such insane bullshit. The universe cares nothing for you, and there is no such thing as fairness. Life is meaningless and full of pain and disappointment.
Merb the intern enters your office and places a small flask on your desk. He shows no emotion, but he knows, you know he knows. The flask is unmarked and unremarkable, but it's obvious what it's purpose is. Merb backs into the corner, never turning his dead-eyed glare away from you.
If you drink the poison, turn to Page 86
If you pull yourself together and decide to struggle on, turn to Page 78
You pick up the phone. Your finger reaches toward the numbers...but you forget who you meant to call. Funny. Funny how our memory works. You had a goal. You picked up the phone. But it's gone. You hope it wasn't important.
You don't need any more players. You think this team has the right mix to compete now and into the foreseeable future. If you signed veterans it would cost your young players valuable development time. You're known for building with youth, and you intend to stick with that plan. You don't think this year is your year, but next year could be. It definitely could be. Next year looks mighty fine.
--PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK--
You like this player, regardless of the years, or the money, or the positional problems it causes, this player was worth losing the draft pick. You are pleased with yourself and damn all the haters. Damn them to hell!
You see smoke rising outside your window. You hear far off screams. Is there a parade going on? They don't sound like screams of joy. Now there are footsteps pounding down the corridor, a ruckus. A large explosion tears through the air outside. Sweat forms on your brow, and in the cracks of your palms. Oh no. You hear the doors of the office suite being torn from its hinges, they are close. You hear the chants now. "Alba-Tross!" "Too many years...Too much cash." "DES-per-ATION [clap][clap][clap]". Oh no. It's your worst nightmare. The nerds are here, and they want your blood.
They burst into your office, spilling over each other like a dark tide. You try to explain, but they hear nothing. They screech "DRAFT PICK" as they surround you and rip into your flesh. You scream until they take your tongue. You cry until they take your eyes. You pray for death. And they oblige.
Those contract demands for FA hitters sure are crazy! You already have a lot of good hitters, and there are plenty of guys below the premier level that can be valuable producers. You don't need to load your roster with greedy 30 year olds in decline. You have youth. And you haven't even hit the scrap heap yet. There is plenty of work left to do and you haven't even looked at your pitching situation yet.
If you decide to improve your team's pitching, turn to Page 54
If you would like to focus on other things, turn to Page 91
You just can't do it anymore. You can't fake this anymore. You aren't a general manager. This is not why you were placed on this earth and you will burst if you are forced to make one more move. You know what is right, you know what feels good. You take off your clothes and curl up beneath your desk. You lick your arm and sweep it up over your eyes, washing your hair. You stretch your front legs and doze off happily. You are a cat.
Of course you can't sign Tim Lincecum, he already re-signed with San Francisco! It sure is fun to think about what could have been. Turns out that Lincecum didn't sign for much of a discount anyways, and you have plenty of other options to improve your rotation.
In fact, there is a world class pitcher who might be quite a bargain. And he has ties to your team. Or at least a player on your team. He's good friends with Hisashi Iwakuma, his future potential rotation mate. Masahiro Tanaka is by all accounts a great pitcher. A pitcher who can be had for a nominal posting fee which won't even count against payroll. And he'll most likely be cheaper than a MLB player of commensurate skill and upside. Was it mentioned that he is only 25 years old? Was it mentioned he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA this year in the NPB? Would you like to join in this feeding frenzy and submit a blind bid to acquire the services of one of the best pitchers in the world? How much are you willing to spend? $55 million? $65 million? $75 million? An offer like this doesn't come around every day. You don't want to miss an opportunity like this. But neither does anyone else, and the competition could be fierce. $75 million is a strong bid and there are expected to be many suitors in that range. And a 5 year contract is expected to add another $60 million to the offer.
If you would like to commit $135million for Masahiro Tanaka, turn to Page 59
If that is too rich for your blood, turn to Page 75
If you would like to go to Dan Haren's Coiled Pottery Museum, turn to Page 41
The man pursues you through the market. Where the hell is your security detail? The man fires two more shots in your direction, bullets ricochet off brick walls and windows explode. Why is he shooting at you, he needs you alive! You dip into an open doorway and rush up the stairs. You exit on a 3rd floor hallway and sprint towards the other end, up two floors, down one, zig and zag through the building. You exit the building into a small square. You have some time now, you have some separation. You need a place to sit tight and wait for security to catch up. To your left is a manhole cover leading into the sewer, to your right a busy cafe.
If you would like to head into the sewer, turn to Page 108
If you would like to enter the cafe, turn to Page 85
That is just way too much money for a guy over 30. Way too many years. Cano may be a future hall-of-famer, but you don't want to pay him for his past when decline is his future. But you still need good players. There is another All-Star available. A man with a good bat. And at a premium defensive position to boot. A take-no-nonsense old-school ass-kicker. The self-proclaimed arbiter of sportsmanship and the unwritten rules.
You call the agent for FA catcher Brian McCann. McCann needs a job and you need a player. McCann tells you he doesn't want to play any gosh darn games. He wants you to be upfront, and he promises to do the same. He wants job security. He wants long-term. He wants to be the starting catcher. He wants 130 million dollars.
You have a starting catcher, a young one. McCann will cost you a draft pick. McCann will be over 30 years old when the 2014 season starts. McCann is expensive.
If you would like to offer Brian McCann a contract, turn to Page 37
If you would like to refuse Brian McCann's demands and move on, turn to Page 66
We see you. You don't belong here. This is not your place. THIS IS NOT YOUR PLACE. Leave now. Leave. We're watching you.
UGH. All of the scrap heap guys have already signed with other teams. You were so busy dealing with the top-level guys you forgot to check in with the budget bargain bin. This is a grievous error. There is someone left...one someone. But you didn't want to go there. You said you wouldn't go down that well again. You don't know what choice you have if you still want a backup plan.
You let Joe Saunders walk away at the end of the season. You knew you could do better and you wouldn't need him anymore. You wished him luck and changed the locks on the storage unit he was living in. You don't think he was happy, but does he ever look unhappy? You thought some other team might hire him to be their worst starter, but you were wrong. He's available. Are you desperate?
If you would like to offer Joe Saunders a contract, turn to Page 94
If not, and you are happy relying on the young guys, turn to Page 91
When was the last time you just looked up at the stars? Felix looks back at you, "Every night man, every night."
You probably would have lost the bidding anyways, the rumors floating around were getting pretty ridiculous. With all the big money clubs supposedly involved, and a great player on the line, your chances were small. Risks are dangerous, that's why they're called risks. You have young pitching, it's your strength even, and there are other FA starters available.
But who else is left out there to really improve your pitching? There's that former Angels pitcher Ervin Santana, he had a pretty good year but he lacks the excitement of a Lincecum or Tanaka. And he's a former Angel. That's always a huge red flag, because, fuck the Angels. And with the money Lincecum got, you know Santana is going to command between 13-20 million per year for 4-5 years. That's rich for a bland soup. A nearly tasteless, watery broth that will excite no one. Would you like to make an offer to Ervin Santana?
If yes, turn to Page 86
If no, turn to Page 78
Nah, you're going to pass. Life is tough, but you decide to soldier on. You have a truckload of young arms in the minors and one of them has to turn into a quality major league starter, right? What are the odds that every young pitcher you has fails to become "something"? You'll take those odds. The universe may be unfair, but it isn't knowingly unfair, it just is. Random chaos nearly assures that one of your minor league pitchers can step into the rotation.
But you want to be sure, and it can't hurt to have a backup plan. You haven't even reached into the middling pile of decent FA starters yet. You could sign one of them as a backup plan to your young starters turning into aces. But you've never been more confident about your young players. Confidence breeds success, and you know that your positive outlook will bleed out onto your young players. But...
If you trust your young pitchers to develop and fill the gap, turn to Page 91
If you would like to acquire a stop-gap starter, turn to Page 73
You idiot! Lincecum re-signed with San Francisco weeks ago!?! Where the hell have you been? Isn't it your job to be aware of these types of things? Oh man, now someone from your front office leaked to the media that you just made an offer to Tim Lincecum even though he is already under contract with the Giants. Now you look like a fool to the entire world. Additionally, that's against the rules buddy, you're in trouble.
To prevent the franchise being dragged down by your stupidity, ownership decides to fire you. They hope this sign of contrition will be enough to save the Mariners from negative repercussions.
This isn't your office anymore.
Why are you still here? You're an embarrassment.
--PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK--
Of course you would choose to go into the cafe. What idiot would willingly go into the sewer to hide and risk being penned in? You can easily blend in at the cafe while waiting for your security to arrive. You've also heard they have a great Monte Cristo and the viewing angles and exits look desirable for your situation. You order an espresso and hide behind a newspaper.
Your chair moves ever so slightly. That's odd you think, earthquake? You turn and look at the chair and realize it's not a chair at all, you're sitting in the lap of a giant man! And you know this man! It's none other than Carlos Peguero, one of your favorite employees. He tells you he is waiting for a travel agent because he is contemplating moving to Japan to play in the NPB. He looks sad and lonely. You feel bad for him, he's had a rough few months. Japan might be the perfect place for him to reboot his life. But then again, you could always use more power on your team, and this is a powerful man. You climb out of his lap and look into his sad wet eyes. Your security team arrives and you say goodbye to Carlos and tell him you will see him again soon.
You head back to your office. You sit down at your desk and put your head in your hands, "What a day," you say. You pick up your Rolodex and stare at Carlos Peguero's phone number.
If you want nothing to do with Carlos Peguero, turn to Page 86
If, hell yeah you're putting Carlos Peguero on this team, turn to Page 100
What brought you to this point in your life? You ponder this question as you take your second sip from the flask of poison. You've made some poor decisions in life, but that last decision, that was your worst. Or the best, as it has enabled your freedom. Merb watches from the corner, shadows obscuring his blank face. So this is the end? Dying in your office with the last person you would consider a friend. You chug the rest of the poison.
Merb is now standing beside your chair. You hope the Mariners will forge ahead without you, that you will be missed and not forgotten. That your memory will inspire rather than depress. You hope they win a World Series to honor you. You hope Merb doesn't do anything weird to your body.
That was stupid. Why did you do that? You're going to regret that. It's not like there are any take backs here either, this is pretty much a permanent decision and you have to live with it. I hope you can deal with that. I hope you can handle the repercussions of this poor decision.
You are really happy with the work you have done today. You remind yourself to send a note to Bud Selig to thank him for reducing the off-season to one single day. This is a half decent team that could surprise some people. It may not be the best team in baseball history, but you have assembled a good collection of young guys, homegrown vets, and timely free agents. You even managed to finally replace that horrible intern Merb del Broissant that was always creepily lurking around the office.
This team is set up really well for 2015, but with another player or two, you could challenge for a playoff spot this season.
If you are happy with your team, please turn to Page 61
If you would like to make another move or two, turn to Page 97
"It's not just the aesthetic, it's the combination of the engineering and the aesthetic. And that's not the only synergy going on. The feral is merged with the refined, the rugged with the sublime. Nothing can match it's ferocity or it's downtown sensibility. There's beauty, and then there's "beauty". There's performance, and then there's "performance." And the hum...did I not describe the hum? It's because I can't, it's indescribable and it's one of the most pleasing sounds ever created by man. Do you want to rip out a tree stump or pull up to the red carpet in style? Why not both? And that's why the 1992 Isuzu Amigo is the greatest vehicle in the history of mankind."
"I said get the fuck out of my office Merb."
You don't think he has it in him. He's a great guy, a hard worker, a real player's player. But he might just be hanging on too long. You'd hate to see him struggle and be booed. He doesn't deserve that. He's had a great career and you don't want to see that tainted. You wonder...would he accept a coaching position? That might be the best of both worlds. Everybody wins. He gets to leave relatively on top and gets to stay involved in the game he loves and you get to keep his mind and work ethic involved with your organization. You don't know if he'll go for it, but it might be worth a try.
If you would like to offer him a coaching position, turn to Page 107
If you think it would be best if he moves on, turn to Page 111
You should have known this was a mistake. Before you can finish dialing Joe Saunders' phone number, he appears in your office. How long has he been there? He is still wearing the filthy uniform from the last game he pitched for you. What looks like dried mustard and ketchup are crusted all over the lower half of his face. His limp and oily hair hangs over the front of his forehead. Was he always this tall?
You notice he is clutching a plastic bag when a small sneer appears on his face. He approaches your chair. You try to rise as he comes up behind you but he strongly pushes your shoulders down, forcing you to stay seated. He moves too fast for you to react, the bag is over your face. You grab for his hands, held tightly behind your neck. You kick out, you kick at the desk, you kick and punch for purchase, but he is too strong. The plastic is forced into your mouth and nostrils by your strenuous gasps. Stars appear in your vision, and the darkness comes next. You feel the strength leaving your body and hear Joe whisper into your ear, "It's not my fault."
"The Gklaumcktang Empire has entered our sector...CAPTAIN!?"
"Stay the course Ensign Vrill, this is a home base zone. They won't attack us here."
"Sir, they're targeting our shield generator, if the stolen plans are to be believed, we're no match for their new weaponry."
"They- what, they should not be targeting us...that breaks the protocols of the Fleztar Peace of 3118...this is troubling. We need to move quickly, whatever my decision is."
If you would like to flee the sector, turn to page 104
If you would like to stand and fight, turn to page 126
You've been to too many funerals today. You decide to go golfing instead. It's what Bob would have wanted anyways. "RIP Bob" you say as you rip one down the fairway. It slices and falls into the woods.
Your work is never done. A GM should never stop trying to improve their team. Off-season? Pfft, what off-season? A good GM never sleeps, never takes a break, never stops. You believe your team has a legitimate chance to compete for a title in 2015 if your young players continue to develop. But what about this year? You're close, so close. The difference this year could be one more move, the perfect move. But what move? You wrack your brain, but it's been a long day.
You need help. You need some fresh supple minds to provide some insight. You log into the blogosphere. "Ahh yes", you moan. This is just what you were looking for. This will do nicely. One of the these plans can surely provide the last move you need to complete the off-season:
You decide to fire the entire grounds crew. You write up a press release explaining that the Mariners organization is the most green organization in all of baseball, if not the world. To that end, The Seattle Mariners will be employing a completely natural grounds crew. This new crew will have a negligible carbon footprint and will return Safeco Field to it's pristine pre-human form. A form of beauty and nature. In a related but less publicized move, you sign a contract with "Uncle Jasper's Squirrels&Goats: The Finest Purveyor of Squirrels and Goats in the Puget Sound."
Nick Franklin is waiting on the curb when you pull up. He hops into the passenger seat and is startled by your automatic seat belt. "Gosh," he says. You peel out, leaving skidmarks 100 feet long. "It sure is nice of you to take me out for iced creams," he says through a wide grin. You pat him on the head and tell him he's earned it. You park at the ice cream shop and let him run up and around the long handicapped ramp while you hold the door for him. You ask him what flavor of ice cream he wants, he replies "All of em." The ice cream man says that's adorable. You tell Nick he can only pick his three favorite flavors, but you will let him make it a sundae. His eyes light up. "With a cherry on top?" You tell him yes, he can have a cherry on top. Two cherries even.
What an amazing season. You thought the team was good, but 140+ wins good? "The greatest team in baseball history". That's what they were saying in July when the Mariners were 85-9. You'd long dreamed of winning a World Series and it was better than you could have ever imagined. Of course you won General Manager of the year, your moves in the off-season will be studied for decades. Every guy you brought in through free agency and trade had a career year. Even that one guy that everyone doubted, except you. No one will doubt your acumen ever again. Some are calling you a prophet, but you won't let it go to your head. This was the result of hard work, grit, and the will to win.
No record could stand before your 2014 Seattle Mariners. 54 straight wins. 418 dingers. Felix Hernandez won the AL and NL Cy Young Awards! A gold glove and silver slugger at every position. And the fans...the amazing fans. Of course the single season attendance record would fall as well.
There is no stopping this team. Not with you in charge. ALL HAIL THE 2014 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS, YOUR, SEATTLE MARINERS!