Congratulations! You have been presented with a great opportunity. Do you want to be the general manager of the Seattle Mariners?
Wonderful! You arrive at Safeco Field for your first day of work, but since you don’t have a parking pass yet, you’re forced to find a spot along the street. Then, since you don’t have a badge yet, you have to enter through the Diamond Club. (Rough life.)
“Welcome to Safeco Field!” the receptionist exclaims as you approach the front desk. As you explain that you’re the new general manager, their smile dims. You quickly realize that they expected someone with, ummm, maybe a bit more actual baseball experience? Nevertheless, you must keep moving! So many things to do, so little time.
You arrive at the Terrace Club level, where you’re greeted by John Stanton himself. Now, you hadn’t actually met him when you interviewed/when you were magically offered the job, so his first question is a natural one: What do you intend to accomplish this offseason?
If you would like to go all-in for 2019, turn to Page 4.
If you would like to take one step back in order to take two steps forward and contend in 2020, turn to Page 5.
If you would like to fully rebuild, turn to Page 6.
Weird flex, but okay. You really don’t want to be a general manager of a professional baseball team? Like, this isn’t a lifelong dream for you?
Your phone buzzes. Who’s calling you? It’s 2018, for crying out loud. Nobody calls anymore. Is it an auto-alert that you’ve set up for @MarinersPR, which has killed your phone battery ever since Jerry Dipoto took over? Nope, it’s a number you don’t recognize, but just in case this isn’t a robo-call, you decide to give it a shot.
“Hi, this is John Stanton,” the voice on the other end says. “I heard you don’t want to be general manager. Are you sure? What if we made you the Senior Vice President, Roof Operations, with full personnel control?”
If you would like to take him up on his offer, turn to Page 113.
If you’re sure you have no desire to work for the Seattle Mariners, turn to Page 54.
Okay! Let’s go for it. Maybe you can be the one to take the Mariners to the Promised Land. Of course, before we can figure out what changes you want to make on the field, it’s time to re-examine the coaching staff. Let’s start with hiring a hitting coach. What are you looking for in your dream hitting coach?
If you want to focus on heart, turn to Page 27.
If you want to focus on brawn, turn to Page 40.
If you want to focus on brains, turn to Page 83.
If you don’t think you even really need a hitting coach, turn to Page 75.
One step back, two steps forward, that’s what my mom always told me. At least, she told me that when I was learning to walk. It took a while. Anyways, given the Mariners’ roster constraints, of course you’re optimizing for 2020 and beyond. Just too many issues with the team to truly contend in 2019. So let’s hire a hitting coach, shall we? What are you looking for in your dream hitting coach?
If you want to focus on heart, turn to Page 27.
If you want to focus on brawn, turn to Page 40.
If you want to focus on brains, turn to Page 83.
If you don’t think you even really need a hitting coach, turn to Page 75.
It’s never easy to tear the whole thing down and rebuild. Given how desperate this city is for the Mariners to play in October, everyone would’ve understood it if you chose to contend. But this is probably the right call. This team desperately needs an infusion of young talent, and trading away top assets is the best way to make that happen.
You hear some rustling papers. It’s your manager, Scott Servais, sitting at the chair right next to your desk. Has he been there the whole time?? Anyway, he heard there were some wholesale changes coming down the pike, which is NOT what he signed up for. He demands that you let him now right now, once and for all, if he’s going to manage the team in 2019.
If you are ready to end the Scott Servais era and hire your own manager, turn to Page 46.
If you like Scott and you’d rather put your time and effort into hiring a hitting coach, turn to Page 58.
Hmmmm. You really don’t want a reliever? Given how often relievers get injured and/or randomly turn into pumpkins, this seems like a bad decision. Once you tell the rest of the front office of your plan, a mild panic ensues. Your interns are frantically running out of the ballpark in search of a doctor, your analysts are showing you everything from statistical overviews to online horoscopes in an attempt to convince you to get some relievers, and the marketing team is planning a new “Old School is New School” campaign.
Fast forward a few days. Nothing has worked to change your mind. You’re intransigent as ever. You get to work one day and there’s a huge “INTERVENTION” banner hanging over the entrance. Every member of the front office has been waiting for you to arrive. They make one final plea: Please, please, please sign a reliever. What do you say?
If, after everything else, you’d like to sign a reliever after all, turn to Page 20.
If you remain firm in your beliefs and you refuse to sign one, turn to Page 15.
There’s nothing better than the trade market, right? Time to wheel & deal to your heart’s content. At your desk, you notice Jerry Dipoto’s phone is still sitting right there on the desk, with phone numbers for all 30 MLB general managers in there. That might be useful. Which team do you want to call first?
If you would like to steal some even year magic and call the San Francisco Giants, turn to Page 22.
If you would like to pull off another Marco Gonzales-style trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, turn to Page 33.
If you would like to reprise the Hanigura™ deal and call the Arizona Diamondbacks, turn to Page 49.
Bold move! It’ll be difficult to win it all in 2019 given the shaky state of the current roster, but if anybody has a chance to pull this off, it’s you, a random Mariners fan who reads Lookout Landing a lot. Of course, when you tried to log in to the computer system this morning, you may have accidentally traded Mallex Smith back to the Rays, but that could happen to anybody.
Your first order of business, according to the post-it note that Jerry left behind, is to contact Nelson Cruz’s agent and figure out what sort of deal to offer him. But being the graceful genius you are, you decide to just set up a dinner with Nelson directly. You arrange to meet him at his favorite place to eat — the beach — and while the two of you are eating and laughing about the good ‘ol days, you decide it’s the perfect time to break the news to him.
If you would like to interrupt your special dinner with Nelson by telling him you don’t want to sign him, turn to Page 14.
If you would like to put the capper on a perfect night by telling Nelson you want to give him a new contract, turn to Page 52.
You have no team other than Paul Goldschmidt. That’s it. That’s literally your entire team. All the prospects, all the experienced players, even the clubhouse attendants and valets and all that jazz. MLB Network has dug up every single former front office executive to blast your move. What were you thinking?!? He only has one year left on his deal!! This is a terrible move. You don’t even need to wait for the inevitable call to go talk to Mr. Stanton.
As you gather up your things and head out the door, you can feel the stares of all the other baseball operations folks. All of them are ashamed of you. All of them are sad to have known you. Their career prospects are damaged because of your recklessness, and your reputation is in tatters.
You’re amazed that the Mariners actually have a physical Rolodex to flip through. Maybe this is why they’ve never won a World Series, you think to yourself. Edwin Encarnacion...Adam Engel...Dietrich Enns...Morgan Ensberg...ah, there he is: Nathan Eovaldi. You call up the Red Sox hurler and see if maybe he’d like to be a Seattle Mariner.
Eovaldi is delighted you called! He was just telling his mother the other day, in fact, that he had a really good feeling about the Seattle Mariners, he wants you to know. You’re delighted to hear this. What a lovely conversation this is! Until, of course, things turn to money.
If you would like to offer the nice man four years and $65 million, turn to Page 25.
If you would like to offer the nice man three years and $40 million, turn to Page 36.
Wow, took you long enough to decide! Actually, it took you too long. At this point in the offseason, there are only two hitters who remain free agents: Bryce Harper (!) and Manny Machado (!!). Obviously, you need to strike, and you need to strike quick. So, with no planning or projections or statistics or literally anything that would help you make an informed decision, what course do you wish to pursue?
If you would like to sign Manny Machado, turn to Page 24.
If you would like to sign Bryce Harper, turn to Page 112.
If you would like to sign both of them, turn to Page 109.
You take a walk, looking to clear your head. After what feels like twenty minutes (or was it forty? You were so focused on your podcast you didn’t keep track), you notice you’re in a place you don’t quite recognize. There’s a mist in the air as the you notice a suddenly glaring silence. What is this place? Why did you turn left at that light? How long has it been? Frantically, you attempt to retrace your steps, but realize you’re hopelessly lost, and the fog is only rolling in heavier. The deafening silence is only interrupted by the sounds of your steps, pounding the ground faster and faster, and the thud of your heart racing at speed.
Suddenly, in the distance, a *crack*. A few seconds later, a light thud, then another, then the light rustle of leather on pavement as a baseball rolls slowly to your feet. As you bend down to inspect it, you notice an inscription on its cowhide skin. “No one can ever win here. Not even you.”
The fog closes in…
Boomstick was a crucial part of this team for the last four years — and you’re willing to move on, just like that? Let’s just say that your phone would be ringing off the hook, if you still had a phone on a hook.
Since it’s 2019, the proverbial rotary phone is best represented by the Seattle Times comment section. Matt Calkins has written a blistering piece, and all of the M’s fans out there have been galvanized against you. Your kids come home after school crying because nobody would talk to them at recess. It’s unclear if that’s because of a city-wide shunning initiative or because kids are mean sometimes, but regardless it’s a sign that your day is doo-doo.
After a fitful night of sleep, with visions of angry fans dancing in your head, you realize you need a plan.
If you would like to pacify the angry fans, turn to Page 21.
If you would like to forge on and trust your front office, turn to Page 44.
The first week goes pretty well, actually! You get some strong innings out of your starters, and coast to a 5-2 opening week after sweeping the A’s in Japan. Unfortunately, you finally encounter a stretch where all of your good relievers have to pitch, and one day everyone is gassed. Even though he’s on the Twins, Chase de Jong somehow appears on the mound to close a close game against the Astros. Like a Gabriel García Márquez novel, everyone just kind of accepts the bizarre appearance as it happens. Shockingly, Chase blows it. The next day, you have a text from Stanton. “If you ever get another chance to be a GM, consider signing a reliever. You’re fired.”
Gar worked out pretty darn well, so why not go back to that nostalgia-infused well? Your first call was to Darnell Coles, obviously, but he was already hired by the Diamondbacks. Drat. Naturally, the next former Mariner to consult was Jeremy Reed, but he was already hired by the Angels. Really, there aren’t any more former Mariners to hire as coaches since all of those who wanted to be coaches have been hired as hitting coaches.
You scroll down on your team-issued phone to see one more contact down at the bottom. It reads “DO NOT CALL.” You open up the contact to see a note passed down:
“Jack — SERIOUSLY, DON’T DO IT. You need to stop calling him. It’s become a running joke at this point. The other GMs are laughing at you. DO NOT CALL.”
Well, heck, at this point, you have to do it! You make a call and offer the voice on the other end a job to teach Jose Martinez, sight unseen...and that’s how you end up with Kendrys Morales as your new infield defense coach. Oh boy. Talk about an unmitigated disaster.
That’s probably a wise move. It would be hard to build a true winner for next season, so let’s take a one-year pause and ready ourselves for 2020. At your 9am meeting with John Stanton explaining your plan, Stanton makes it very clear that he expects you to trade away somebody from the team’s core. You’ve got three options here. Which star do you want to move?
If you would like to trade Kyle Seager (and use Kyle Lewis as the sweetener to get somebody to eat his contract), turn to Page 53.
If you would like to trade Edwin Díaz, turn to Page 86.
If you would like to trade James Paxton, turn to Page 103.
Ugh. Just when you thought you were going to ink a deal, it all evaporated. Talk about a major bummer. This is definitely deflating news. Perhaps some fresh air is in order?
If you would like to take a walk to clear your mind, turn to Page 13.
If you would instead like to get down to business and focus on the pitching market, turn to Page 30.
Not every Houston Astro is a bad person, right? Maybe Charlie Morton just needs a change of scenery. At least, that’s what he tells you when you give him a call.
“All I really want in life is to be a Seattle Mariner,” Morton says enthusiastically. You wonder how many teams he’s told this to, and remind yourself to ask Morton’s agent for the acting coach that must have prepped Morton for this interview. Because it sure sounds sincere. The more the two of you converse, the more you like the man. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer him a contract and get him in the starting rotation next year...
If you would like to offer the nice man two years and $35 million, turn to Page 25.
If you would like to offer the nice man one year and $18 million, turn to Page 36.
Yes! Bullpen! You need some real good pitchin’ back there to solidify the late innings and get your starting rotation through the rigors of a 162-game schedule. A couple of options come to mind — one bespectacled, the other closer to home; one with a top-notch fastball, the other with some nasty breaking stuff. Of course, one is also going to cost much more than the other. What’s the move, hotshot?
If you would like to offer Joe Kelly three years for $27 million, turn to Page 23.
If you would instead like to offer David Phelps a cheap one-year deal for $2 million, turn to Page 29.
Nostalgia. That’s what’ll bring those fans back to the ballpark! Sure, no Nelson Cruz hurts, but if you just add a great former Mariner, maybe that’s all you need. Perhaps that will pacify the masses, or at least help stave off a scathing Matt Calkins/Larry Stone column in the days to come. With that in mind, your first call seems like an obvious one. Who brings the right mixture of promise and baseball skill, along with a visceral reaction & harkening back to a specific point in time?
Future. Superstar. Brad. Miller. That’s who.
But even after you bring him back amidst a wave of fanfare — “It’s Miller Time! #WelcomeBackBrad” is all over the interwebs for days — the fans clearly aren’t satiated. They want, nay, they DEMAND more. The switchboard decided to send all the calls your way because they’re unhappy with you, and let’s just say you’re getting all of Ryan Divish’s Twitter mentions coming at you in real life.
Do you acquiesce?
If you want to submit to mob rule and allow the fans to dictate your every move, turn to Page 108.
If you refuse to let the unwashed masses dictate how you run your front office, turn to Page 56.
The Giants make you a tantalizing offer, peppering in constant reminders that Brandon Belt is a champion who pLaYs ThE gAmE tHe RiGhT wAy. They’re willing to part with Belt and 24-year-old pitching prospect Shaun Anderson in exchange for Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy. Just as you get to dreaming about a competent hitter at a premium position, coupled with a young arm who fits the Mariners’ need profile to a tee, an international call comes ringing in.
It’s the Toronto Blue Jays, last seen pillaging Safeco Field and drowning out the home fans as if that’s some sort of accomplishment, rather than an example of Western Canada getting suckered into inflated ticket prices. You are permanently weary of Toronto, but it’s trade szn, so you’re listening.
They caught wind of your proposed Belt trade and make the exact same offer, except you get Justin Smoak, who unlike Belt, is a switch hitter that’s familiar with American League pitching. For the entirety of the phone call you can hear Smoak in the background talking about how much he misses you, and how he doesn’t “get” Canada. Nobody knows him quite like you do, or so he says.
To take Belt and Anderson from the Giants, turn to Page 26.
To fall for Justin Smoak’s sob story, turn to Page 111.
Joe Kelly is on your team! Super duper! He likely won’t get to pitch in the World Series again, but should the Mariners get in a fight, you stand to fare pretty well. You’ve also increased the team’s goggle-wearing population just in the nick of time.
You can’t just rest on your laurels, though. There’s plenty of other moves to be made. For instance, you may want more relievers to hang out with Kelly in the bullpen.
To break baseball by signing only relief pitchers, turn to Page 59.
To do the sensible thing and not build the whole plane out of pitching specialists, turn to Page 39.
December 2, 2018. It’s a Sunday, sure, but that doesn’t stop you from working. And it hasn’t for weeks now. Because every single hour you’re not in the office, you’ve been seen wandering Seattle, scouring for loose change and trying to scrape together every last dollar and cent you have. You know that’s what it’ll take to sign Manny Machado.
You put together a PowerPoint, using all the high school group project skills you’ve got, in order to convince ownership to pony up for the superstar infielder. You write multiple grant applications, hoping somebody can help you chip away at the nine-figure sum you’ll surely need to come up with. You investigate every last avenue. Finally, you’ve scrounged together $200 million. But maybe he’d take another, less traditional deal...
If you would like to offer Manny Machado 10 years and $200 million, turn to Page 18.
If you would like to offer him 10 years and $50 million, with full naming rights to both Safeco Field AND the Mariners franchise, turn to Page 110.
Hark! Starting pitching hath arrived. Come one, come all, bathe in the new era of Mariner baseball, in which a right-handed power pitcher is a prominent piece. Fans are thrilled by the idea of radar gun readings reaching their upper limits, and you’re stoked about having a stopgap between Félix and the next great homegrown pitcher.
But wait, your inner Cher Horowitz-style inner monologue says, wouldn’t it be totally dope if we had OTHER types of pitchers too? All you have to do is make a few phone calls, rearrange some things, and you could certainly party with more relievers. Let’s just hope you’re not too clueless to make a decision.
If you’re all, “What about the strain on our resources?” and wish to say “As if!” to trading for bullpen help, turn to Page 7.
If you’re all, “It does not say RSVP on the bullpen mound. The more the merrier!”, turn to Page 20.
All right! Now, that’s what I’m talking about! We got ourselves a first baseman! There’s no way this one is going to turn out like Ryon Healy or Adam Lind or Danny Valencia or Casey Kotchman or Justin Smoak 1.0 or … hmmm maybe the problem is deeper than we thought. But regardless, you got this position figured the heck out.
Is there more to accomplish on the offensive side of things or should you switch to the mound?
If you, like Oliver Twist, would like some more, turn to Page 12.
If you think this offense will do the Mariners proud, turn to Page 30.
You gotta have heaaaaart, all you really need is heaaaaaart! The players are hugely in favor of you epitomizing Damn Yankees! by, well, doing the exact opposite of what the Yankees would do. The first name that comes to mind, of course, is David Eckstein, but he won’t return your call, since he’s collaborating with Angela Duckworth on her new book, Grit, Personified: How I Developed the Best Drive in Baseball. His loss!
Fortunately, your hastily-made list has more than one name, and the second entry perhaps should have been at the top of the chart. One phone call later, and just like that, your new hitting coach is Franklin Gutiérrez. Your coworker over in Ticket Sales says they’ve already received a deluge of calls this morning, all thanks to Guti.
Next up: pitching coach. That Paul Davis fella lasted all of five days before resigning. What are you thinking?
If you would like to hire a pitching coach, turn to Page 61.
If you think pitching coaches are overrated and your team doesn’t need one, turn to Page 88.
Ryon Healy is your first baseman, against the better judgment of Mariners Twitter. You’re confident that his power will endure and the Mayor of Dongtown will improbably learn how to use the opposite field and actually learn what a strike zone is. Whoa, dream big!
Still, this roster needs reinforcements before the season starts. As you’ve come to understand baseball, there’s two kinds of players. Pitchers, and hitters. You believe that your depth chart has room for both, but your pocket book only can afford one. Decision time!
To scour the market for another big bat, turn to Page 12.
To get a professional pitch-thrower, turn to Page 30.
You’re hellbent on seeing David Phelps cross the double-digit inning threshold with the Seattle Mariners. Noble venture, that. Knowing that his elbow is filled with fireworks liable to reach their grand finale at any moment, your mind wanders to other Phelps-type pitchers who could be safe insurance policies.
To test the limits of Joe Kelly’s Venmo account, turn to Page 23.
To pull up a chair and wait for Phelps’ ulnar ligaments to light up the night sky, turn to Page 39.
No time to waste! People to see, things to do, contracts to sign, games to win. That’s your motto. You don’t mess around like some of these other jabronis who think “rest” and “relaxation” and “properly hydrating & feeding oneself” will somehow turn into victories. Ha! Joke’s on them. They’ll see the error of their ways soon enough.
Oh! Right. Yes. Back to signing pitchers. Fortunately given your occupation, you have MLB Trade Rumors favorited on your browser, so you head on over there and check out a list of Top Free Agent Pitchers. Who gets your first call?
If you would like to call Nathan Eovaldi, turn to Page 11.
If you would like to call Charlie Morton, turn to Page 19.
If you would like to call Clayton Kershaw, turn to Page 41.
Remember art class back in elementary school? Or, heck, even art class in middle or high school? None of those classes ever taught the art of negotiation, and that sure would be useful right now. Because he’s pretty damn offended at your offer. Only two freakin’ years for a player of his magnitude?? He’s pissed off. This is your chance to put a stamp on your franchise. Are you going to be known for wimping out and acquiescing to every single demand a player has, or will you hold firm?
If you would like to add an extra year to the contract, turn to Page 38.
If you would like to stick to your original two-year offer, turn to Page 107.
JA Happ? You happ-en to hate him anyway! Why would you want him on your roster! Good thing he chose to sign somewhere else. But there are other former Mariners you could call. Wade Miley comes to mind…
If you would like to offer Wade Miley two years and $26 million, turn to Page 48.
If you obviously do not want Wade Miley on your team and would never, in a million years, give real money to a player your franchise once traded for Aríel Miranda, turn to Page 62.
You call the St. Louis Cardinals, using a number that conveniently doubles as a direct line to Satan, and they propose a deal that can turn your question mark at first base to a period. However, it’ll cost you one of the few incubating prospects showing any sign of full development.
The offer: José Martínez for Kyle Lewis.
You hop on the phone with Peter, pacing around while you talk about whatever it is 89-year-old billionaires like to talk about. And while you’re doing that, you notice a small folded-up piece of paper buried in the corner of your office. It looks like it was written a long, long time ago, back when…
Is that Bill Bavasi’s name on the paper?
“In case of a 20-year-playoff drought, this contract hereby grants trade-backsies to the Seattle Mariners.
Bill Bavasi & Cal Ripken, Jr.”
Was Cal Ripken even on the Orioles when Bill Bavasi was the Mariners’ GM…? Never mind. Not important. Seeing this gives you an idea. Maybe all you need to do is reverse the curse!
And that’s how you proposed, and Peter Angelos accepted, one of the most unorthodox trades in baseball history: Scott Servais to Baltimore and Adam Jones back to Seattle. People are perplexed, but you’re a stupendous judge of talent, so you’re not worried. Now let’s hire you a manager!
If you would like to embrace the man in the sky, turn to Page 55.
If you would like to embrace Mariners of yore, turn to Page 60.
If you would like to embrace jaywalking outside stadiums, turn to Page 76.
Good decision. It’s not an easy one, to be sure, but certainly the right move. After all, as JFK said, “We choose to [rebuild the Seattle Mariners] in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” Well said, Mr. President. Also, did you know that JFK had eight siblings? Wow. That’s a lot to take in. Let’s keep reading his Wikipedia page…
Oh shoot. While you were engrossed in a Wikipedia sinkhole, something went down with the Mariners. Did you ever change the password to your email account? You didn’t leave the password as “#EdgarHOF” did you?
(You did. And Jerry Dipoto took advantage of it and swapped Mallex Smith while you were napping. Typical Jerry.)
Blast. Anyway. Perhaps what you need is some friendly media coverage! You decide to set something up — an exclusive sit-down interview with a major baseball reporter (as opposed to a super dedicated baseball blog). This will give your reign legitimacy and perhaps even give you some information too! The real question is: who ya gonna call?
If you would like to talk with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, turn to Page 90.
If you would like to talk with Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, turn to Page 101.
Yikes. He didn’t like that offer, that’s for sure, and he’s going to sign with the Astros instead. That one hurts, especially since he’s heading to a division rival. You can already feel how the blogosphere is going to react, and it’s not going to be pretty. Let’s move on and try to sign a different pitcher, shall we? Who else is on the market and currently unsigned? Well, if you really need to, you could maybe check in with JA Happ and his agent...
If you would like to offer JA Happ two years and $33 million, turn to Page 48.
If you obviously do not want JA Happ on your team and would never, in a million years, give real money to a player your franchise once traded for Adrian Sampson, turn to Page 32.
You looked Marco Gonzales dead in his adorable face and said you couldn’t trust him. You then doubled down on that by willingly adding Sonny Gray to your roster. This is, of course, the same Sonny Gray who just spent a season puking in the corner and hoping nobody would notice, like a well-to-do, lovable dog that still knows exactly how awful it’s being. While an admirable example of valuing caution and rationale above smittency (totally a word) with Marco, you now have an army of Twitter fans yelling at you about Gray’s recent struggles.
Is this worth making another move in attempts to fortify the team even more? You do know a prospect-rich team desperate for a World Series banner...
To step away from the mountain of trade dust and call it quits, turn to Page 96.
To send the Dodgers a “u up?” text, turn to Page 82.
At this point, you could probably call it a day and half of the Mariners fans out there would worship you for this alone. Bringing back Nelson Cruz and keeping the Boomstick around is a masterstroke, his advanced age and potentially withering performance be damned. And the press conference announcing Cruz’s signing is wonderful, from his constant ear-to-ear grinning to your manager’s squeals of excitement about putting his bat in the lineup day in and day out.
After the presser, you decide to let off some steam and play a bit of Pac-Man. You head on down to your favorite bar and order a nice, refreshing tallboy of Rainier (you are, after all, in Seattle). Both of the quarters you put in the machine are from Arizona. Huh. Then you notice that there’s a pool in this bar, just beyond a makeshift fence that divides the bar in half. Weird. And, finally...is that Eleanor Shellstrop walking around?
Oh my god. That’s it. That’s the answer. You knew you needed a center fielder — and the answer is to go to Arizona to find it! You immediately call up A.J. Pollock. This is a match made in heaven. Perhaps he could be the missing link!
If you would like to offer four years and $65 million to an outfielder who has one MLB season of at least 500 plate appearances, turn to Page 45.
If you would rather offer this outfielder three years and $35 million, turn to Page 72.
Well, you made quite a few moves. Some will work out. Some won’t! But you feel pretty good about this team, and so do all of the people around you. Maybe things will work out this year. Maybe they won’t. But with any luck, you’ll still have a job next year and you can always fix stuff then. Let’s see how everything unfolds.
You’ve decided to go with muscle, because someone reminded you that no spreadsheet has ever hit a home run. As such, the new hitting coach is Bucky Jacobsen. You tell the fans that if they don’t like the hire, you’re weird.
Someone also reminded you that pitching is a fairly important component of baseball. It may be prudent to have a pitching coach. On the other hand, hiring people is a lot of work.
To go with conventional wisdom and hire a pitching coach, turn to Page 61.
To say screw it and let the pitchers coach themselves, turn to Page 88.
What on Earth are you doing?!? Clayton Kershaw re-signed with the Dodgers weeks ago! Oh boy, you’re in for it now. They’ll be laughing at you in front offices across the game for years to come. Rob Manfred has already called from the MLB central offices to formally levy tampering charges against you. This isn’t going to go well.
You flip on MLB Network and guess who they’re talking about. You. Even Harold Reynolds is getting in on the fun, in between going off about the importance of batting average and fielding percentage. This is just plumb embarrassing.
You stick your head out of your office to see if anybody is still there. Nope. They all left, because they don’t want to be tainted by your brush. And, yep, that’s John Stanton walking down the hallway, and he doesn’t look happy. Maybe if you just stand really still next to this potted plant in the corner, he won’t notice you’re here…
It doesn’t work. He sees you. You’re fired.
You’ve been cast out to sea with no sight of land. A desolate, bleak environment surrounds you. You find a bottle bobbing aimlessly in the current, containing a scrolled up message as old as time itself.
“Someone has to throw those innings.”
A quick re-acclimation brings you to the realization that two things can save you. One, a rickety vessel that appears able, but aesthetically provides a cold, uninspiring comfort. The other, a bloated raft that is certainly large enough for the role, but could pop at any minute and send you to a humiliating death.
If you want to sign Casey Lawrence, turn to Page 56.
If you want to sign Bartolo Colon, turn to Page 66.
Oh God. You went upstairs to tell John Stanton you decided to keep trading guys away and rebuild the team. You told your secretary not to let anybody inside your office. But one look at Jerry Dipoto’s winning smile and he forgot everything you told him. And that’s the story of how Jean Segura, Ben Gamel, and Ryon Healy were all traded away in a 10-minute span.
Do you dare embark on further rebuilding missions? Is all this wheeling and dealing simply an excuse to cover up that hole in your heart? How can you possibly follow this up?
If you are simply insatiable and you demand more moves, turn to Page 56.
If you think this team is sufficiently bad and you don’t want to sell off any more assets, turn to Page 97.
Nelson cruised onward.
The offense pond ripples anew.
Center needs grazing.
To court A.J. Pollock with a series of haikus and a four-year, $65 million deal, turn to Page 45.
To follow A.J. Pollock around with a skywriter crafting a looping, 3 YEARS, $35 MIL message all offseason, turn to Page 72.
There’s only so many times you can pace around the infield of Formerly Known As Safeco Field while you wait to hear back from A.J. Pollock. You’re real freakin’ nervous. If you don’t sign A.J., you don’t have a center fielder (since you traded Mallex Smith again). And if you don’t have a center fielder, the fans are NOT going to be happy. Can you imagine the looks on people’s faces if they have to confront Ben Gamel, Center Fielder again? They could barely handle it once or twice, but for a full season? Unconscionable.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Oh god, it’s a phone call. Oh god, the number is from Arizona.
You pick up.
“Hi, it’s A.J. I’m in.”
Just like that, you have yourself a center fielder! Who cares if he’s going to get hurt in approximately twelve games. You’ve got your guy! And even though A.J. said literally five words to you, his excitement is palpable. The man is beyond stoked. He’s lit. (Did you say that right? You’re not sure. You’re trying to be cool and stay hip with the lingo but you’re always one step behind.)
Anyway, no time to waste. You still have a hole at first base. What’s the move?
If you would like to call up some potential trade partners, turn to Page 8.
If you would like to trust Ryon Healy to keep mashing dingers, turn to Page 28.
By hiring a new manager (the third Mariner skipper since 2014), you’ve shown an affinity for shooting from the hip. While everyone in your office ducks proverbial bullets and clings to their job, some rival owners take notice of your strategy and try to get you on the phone. Both of ‘em love your ability to create a gigantic mess out of nothing and leave outsiders questioning your very sanity. You must decide which of these two men are worthy of your immediate time.
To punch in the Baltimore area code and return Peter Angelos’ call, turn to Page 34.
To punch in the Miami area code and return Derek Jeter’s call, turn to Page 74.
José Martínez is being outfitted for a Northwest Green jersey and reading up on Seattle’s burgeoning restaurant scene. You feel great about his bat, which clonked .305/.364/.457 in the National League last season.
Having given up Kyle Lewis to get him, you want Martínez to be as well-rounded a player as possible. This means trying your absolute damnedest to make him a passable defender at at least one position. Thoughts?
To put him through a 24/7/365 defensive boot camp, turn to Page 16.
To point at Martínez and yell “DH!”, turn to Page 26.
You just made that pitcher’s day — nay, year. We’re talking millions of dollars here! Plus, he gets to go back to Seattle and rebuild his legacy.
The fans, however, are less bullish. They scream incessantly about the value of a dollar, and how giving that former Mariner all of those millions of dollars demonstrates a complete lack of understanding on that topic. Most of these people want nothing more than for you to STOP. MAKING. DEALS. Of course, you are the chief decision-maker here, and the pilot of your own destiny plane.
To heed the warnings of your fans, literally the only people you should be kowtowing to, turn to Page 7.
To hit the fans with a classic dril tweet and max out the credit card on a reliever, turn to Page 20.
Despite the warnings of people who care about your well-being, who have rightfully called this state the Florida of the West Coast, you cast a blind eye to recent news and decide to check out Arizona.
A phone call to Diamondbacks’ headquarters yields an interesting proposition. The Snakes will trade you Paul Goldschmidt, so long as you give up an arm, leg and 1.5 ears.
To kindly explain that you need those things to complete most daily tasks, turn to Page 8.
To Mr. Potato Head the team and re-arrange all of its parts in exchange for Goldy, turn to Page 10.
Wade’s World is a ripping party every fifth game at Safeco, even if his pitch repertoire is a left-handed sedative. Just as the world adjusts to a Mariner rotation sans James Paxton, the Yankees call and offer to shake it up even harder.
They will happily trade Sonny Gray for a basket of low-level minor leaguers.
To bring Sonny Gray back to the AL West, turn to Page 68.
To report the Yankees to a federal agent, turn to Page 94.
A sampling of the national media reaction to your latest move:
Checking in with someone a bit more local:
Hard to disagree with that reaction. You’ve somehow pleased the local AND the national media, and that’s not easy to do. (Even if some members of the national media are spreading dicey rumors & misspelling names.) But now it’s time to turn to the starting lineup. There are a bunch of bats to choose from. Which hitter do you want to pursue?
If you’d like to call Mariners killer Marwin Gonzalez’s agent, turn to Page 81.
If you’d like to contact one-kneed wonder Michael Brantley’s agent, turn to Page 92.
If you’re ready to roll even without any more hitters, turn to Page 96.
Like a college student who just posted their woefully attainable New Year’s Resolutions to Instagram with a mind-numbing caption, you’ve decided 2019 is your year. But, your optimism for the calendar turn is tied to a large Dominican man, whom you must woo once more.
You turn to advice in the music of your trusty confidant, DMX, and cue up “How’s It Goin’ Down?” on your headphones. Framed by the looming negotiations with Nelson Cruz, the lyrics “What types of games is bein’ played, how’s it goin’ down? It’s on till it’s gone and I gots to know now. Is you with me or what?” hit you like a truck. You decide it will be going down in one of two ways.
To extend Nellie a two-year offer, turn to Page 31.
To extend Nellie a three-year offer, turn to Page 38.
You’ve rid the organization of its most prominent Kyles. Time for a weird press conference! What are you going with as your killer opening line?
To say (about Kyle Lewis), “We saw something in his development that gave us pause,” turn to Page 63.
To say (about Kyle Seager), “We hate to see him go, but we love to watch him leave,” turn to Page 68.
Okay, you’ve said no very firmly. It was a fun dream to entertain, but at the end of the day, you’re just not really cut out for professional baseball. You go back to your day job and your family, enjoying every day as it sails by and just living life.
Winter comes and goes. Spring comes and goes. You go to a few Mariners games because, hey, you’re still a fan! You just don’t want to be working for them, you know? You value that flexibility. But that said, there’s nothing like the MLB Draft. You’re listening in live while at work, looking up every single name and formulating a half-baked opinion that you then immediately share on Twitter. That is, until the 37th round, when you hear a name you never expected to hear: yours.
Seconds later, you get a call from Jerry Dipoto personally. He says Mr. Stanton wants you to be part of the organization so badly that he gave orders to draft you and give you a chance to play in Everett for the rest of the year, and hopefully make your way up to the big leagues sooner or later. What say you?
If you would like to fulfill a childhood dream and potentially embarrass yourself in Everett for the rest of the season and beyond, turn to Page 56.
If you really and truly do not want to be part of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club, turn to Page 13.
In the most spectacular PR move of all time, Ichiro Suzuki has taken over as the Seattle Mariners’ manager. Is he qualified for the job? Absolutely. Are the fans happy? Through the damn roof. Is Big Baseball mad at you for hiring someone with literally zero coaching experience who famously avoids speaking English in public instead of tossing the job to a sentient can of chewing tobacco? They sure are!
Anyway, the team still doesn’t have a hitting coach. Your call.
If you would like to hire a hitting coach, turn to Page 58.
If you would like to have Ichiro lord over all offensive duties and not hire anyone else, turn to Page 88.
Okay. Let’s be honest, the Seattle Mariners have a long history of mediocrity. Bad decisions virtually define this franchise. And yet, what you just did may be the single stupidest one of them all. We’re talking colossally bad. The fans are, to put it mildly, not happy.
You head into the office the next day wearing a gorilla suit so the protesters outside don’t recognize you. Once you get up to the club level, you notice that nobody is there. Maybe you came in on a holiday? Nope — everybody quit. They’re embarrassed to know you. In fact, they went so far as to join the protesters in front of the home plate gate!
Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off. You hear the sound of breaking glass. You rush out to the concourse to see thousands of angry Seattleites burning an effigy of you right in center field. They’re looting the dugouts, stealing all the sunflower seeds and Big League Chew. Oh God. You’re next.
You try to make it out in your gorilla costume, but your once-trusted employees know this ruse. Your costume is ripped apart as the mob screams its approval. Torches all around you light fire to the stadium. This is almost as bad as the 2008 season.
The last thing you remember, before you lose consciousness, is a protester swinging you around by your ankle, shouting something about Dustin Ackley and sacrificing to the gods. Safe to say, you’ve been fired.
November 15, 2018. You’re deep in the bowels of Formerly Known as Safeco Field, on stage with Chris Young in front of dozens of media members. You’ve already accomplished two lifelong goals today (hire a major league coach, and ask somebody 6’10” or taller how the weather is up there). What an exciting moment. You take fairly standard questions from all the usual suspects — Shannon Drayer, Ryan Divish, Corey Brock — while some guy in glasses who looks familiar keeps taking pictures for the Mariners’ social media accounts.
But you notice an unfamiliar face in the back. Is that the Mariner Moose raising his hand? When you call on him, he stands up and pulls off his head to reveal a strong handlebar mustache. Holy cow. It’s Goose Gossage.
“HOW DARE YOU,” he begins. “YOU’RE RUINING THE SANCTITY OF THE GAME BY HIRING NERDS TO COACH! DOWN WITH THE MARINERS”
Out of nowhere, he pulls out a backpack and starts throwing things at you. Shoes, packs of gum, little tubes of chapstick, lottery tickets...how did he get all this stuff inside? You duck for cover, but you don’t get to Chris in time, and he gets hit by a rubber chicken. He mutters something about never having to deal with this back when he went to Princeton, and storms off.
When you emerge from the desk, unscathed, Gossage has been taken away by security, but now you don’t have a pitching coach. You can see the headlines now: “RECLUSE GOOSE, AS MOOSE, LETS LOOSE AND SWEARS OFF TRUCE.” Talk about embarrassing. Your career, as we know it, is finished.
Dope. Time to hire a hitting coach. This should be fun! You’re putting your stamp on the major league ballclub. You spend hours browsing through LinkedIn, but the only person you find who seems worth your while is this guy. And he already left!
Maybe it’s time to take a different tact. Instead of going by the person, perhaps you should be prioritizing a specific trait. There are all sorts of different ways to be a successful hitter. Which path do you most want to emphasize?
If you want to focus on heart, turn to Page 27.
If you want to focus on brawn, turn to Page 40.
If you want to focus on brains, turn to Page 83.
If you don’t think you even really need a hitting coach, turn to Page 75.
Last year, the Tampa Bay Rays introduced the opener to MLB. But at the end of the day, half measures only produce half results. That’s why you’re going all out — by signing ALL relievers. That’s right. A 14-man pitching staff, an active shuttle to ferry guys between Seattle and Tacoma, you’ve planned ahead for everything.
Everything, that is, except for the beating you took in the media. With a team ERA of 3.78, you’d think you’d be hailed as a conquering hero! Instead, the likes of Colin Cowherd and Stephen A. Smith are putting you on blast every morning; even Fangraphs thinks you went a step too far. Your hitters are getting upset because opposing teams are expressing themselves by beaning a different starter each and every day.
Winning cures all ills, however, and you’re doing a lot of winning. 110 games, in fact! Days before the playoffs kick off, you get a summons to meet with Rob Manfred. You have to assume it’s because he’s so impressed with your genius tactical mind.
Turns out...not quite. In conducting your Great Bullpenning Experience 2k19, you’ve actually managed to raise the average game time to 3 hours and 48 minutes. And Chief Pace of Play is, to put it mildly, pretty pissed off. He bans you for life for “ruining the integrity of the game.” So much for that ticket to Cooperstown. So much for your career. It’s over.
You’re sobbing hysterically, but in the good way. The incoming online vitriol is nuclear, though you’re shielded from the waste by the sheer magnitude of this move. The former prodigy, the chiseled shortstop, the man who took the love you co-created and trashed it, the man who let money guide him, the former pariah-turned-friendly-television-personality, the second-best hitter of all time, Alex Rodriguez, is your manager.
People are BIG mad, and you haven’t even rounded out your staff yet. The chances to galaxy brain this even further have you foaming at the mouth, yet the other half of your brain pings with you reminders to stay level-headed. And, of course, your third half keeps thinking about this picture.
To hire a hitting coach that doesn’t have that photo forever attached to their legacy, turn to Page 58.
To enrage Old Guy Twitter to the brink of war, and straight up not have a hitting coach, turn to Page 88.
This team badly needs some help on the mound, and that’s where you come in. Perhaps this task is best done after some quiet reflection. You walk over to the door and flip the light switch. All the lights go off — except for one, a small spotlight over in the corner. You wander over to investigate, only to see the light is perfectly placed to showcase a row of items, a shelf with the spoils of giveaway days long forgotten.
A Dustin Ackley “Ack Ack Express” train. A Franklin Gutiérrez fly swatter. (Hey, maybe you can use that this year!) A Smoakamotive train. Lots of trains.
But then one item in particular catches your eye, and suddenly you’re teleported to those halcyon days of yore. Remember the lone bright spot of 2013? Remember that goofy bear hat you got and then wouldn’t stop wearing?
Yes. This is it. Let’s hire Hisashi Iwakuma as your next pitching coach.
If you would like to do the right thing and hire Hisashi Iwakuma a job, turn to Page 70.
If you are, in fact, a shell of a human being devoid of all emotions, turn to Page 80.
So you’ve decided to try Wade Miley, knowing full well that it’s a gateway drug that can send you spiraling out of control. And sure enough, some bigger, tougher brute tries to sell you some Chris Tillman. They tell you, wholeheartedly, that it’s some fire.
To devote one year and $5 million to Chris Tillman, turn to Page 48.
To say “Hell no, Tillman’s for losers”, turn to Page 77.
Talk about backlash! Your decision to trade away that youngster is NOT Going well on Mariners Twitter — or, for that matter, anywhere else on the internet. And your comments calling young players “worthless millennials with no work ethic who have replaced their hearts with Snapchat streaks” certainly didn’t help. (For the record, nobody’s on Snapchat anymore.)
Things get so bad that you’re constantly looking over your shoulder. Finally, the death knell comes when even Goose Gossage calls for you to be fired, saying that you “crossed a line” and you should “never be around the game of baseball as long as you live.” John Stanton can’t ignore that, and so he calls you into his. office. You know what’s going to happen...
No Pollock, no Cutch...no problem? Well, no, certainly problem. But you’ve made a decision and you’re sticking to it, dammit. Maybe Braden Bishop will pop in center field or something. You have bigger fish to fry. Namely: first base! It’s incumbent on you to solve this perennial bugaboo. Now, you could choose to trust the current starter, Ryon Healy. Or you could, y’know, actually spend some moolah and/or trade capital to get a real player. It’s up to you, fella.
If you would like to scour the trade market in order to solve your first base problem, turn to Page 8.
If you choose to trust Ryon Healy, turn to Page 28.
Fortunately for you, Ken Rosenthal was right on the money, as the Braves were desperate for a receiver. A few back-and-forth texts later and you’ve come away with Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, Cristian Pache, and a really nifty toolbelt. Talk about a haul! Feeling lucky, you decide to hop on down to the casino and put a few thousand dollars on red, but before you get there you see your favorite pitcher: James Paxton.
He asks you, point-blank and with tears in his eyes, if you’re planning to trade him too. You start stammering, but you both know that there is no good answer at this point. The only question is his final destination.
If you would like to make sure James Paxton doesn’t haunt you for years to come and trade him outside the division, turn to Page 69.
f you would like to reduce James Paxton’s travel distance and trade him to the highest bidder, no matter what, turn to Page 105.
Literally nothing matters about this season other than this: You have Bartolo Colon in your rotation. The lineup, the defense, the attendance, it all pales in comparison. Is there a better way to spend a year than watching Big Sexy go out there every five days and mow through hitters? You stop caring about the team’s performance by like mid-May. The fans could be chanting your name, for all you know, because you only have eyes for Bartolo.
But all good things must come to an end, and when Bartolo announces his retirement in late August, so do you. In fact, you vow to never watch another big league game. This was a fun run you had, but no more. Time for bigger and better things. Because nothing — nothing — will top the image of Bartolo Colon, Seattle Mariner. Life is bliss.
Dustin Ackley is much like Anakin Skywalker, if you think about it. With much hype and fanfare, he was brought into the Light and trained up, with most expecting him to become a dominant second baseman/Jedi Knight. But instead of bringing balance to the Force (spoiler alert!), Anakin destroyed it — and Dustin Ackley did the same thing this season, but to your team’s chemistry.
The rumblings started about halfway through spring training. After a 7-4 loss on Opening Day where Dustin committed two errors in the 9th and then blamed the bullpen for blowing the game, those rumblings turned into a full-blown undercurrent. The torrent was unleashed after Ackley finished April hitting .191. Players stopped showing up for games. Fans stopped watching. Heck, they even started a GoFundMe in an attempt to raise enough money to buy out Ackley’s salary. When the dust clears, the 2019 Seattle Mariners finished with a 39-123 record, the worst by any team in modern recollection.
On October 3, you re-sign Dustin Ackley for 2020 before being summarily fired.
After that last move, you get a call from your favorite coworker on the digital side of things. (You’re a recurring guest on their podcast. Nbd.) They tell you to go check out Lookout Landing, because you HAVE to see their reaction to what you just did. You log on (because of course you have a secret burner account) and, lo and behold...it’s all positive.
Literally every. single. commenter. is on board with this maneuver! That’s probably a record. Even with somewhat limited cash to spend, and even with a very thin farm system, you’ve clearly improved this team. Now you’re feeling like you want more. Maybe...just one more move…
So you pull up Alex Anthopoulos’ number and dial. He’s elated that you called — he was worried he was going to be stuck with all that Braves prospect depth and nothing to show for it! Which player do you really want to target?
If you want a mulligan on that 2014 draft and would like to pursue Sean Newcomb, turn to Page 51.
If you would like to make the sweetest trade you’ve ever known and acquire Max Fried, turn to Page 73.
If you would like to swing for the fences and deal for Ronald Acuña Jr., turn to Page 91.
Nice trade! You managed to swap James Paxton to the Yankees for Justus Sheffield and Erik Swanson. At this point, you’ve already gone pretty far down the rebuilding road. How aggressive are you feeling?
If you want to burn the whole thing to the ground, turn to Page 43.
If you'd like to pursue a more measured rebuild and stop selling like crazy, turn to Page 99.
If you can't decide and would instead like to flip a coin to decide what to do, turn to Page 85.
Hisashi is flattered that you’d ask. A bit weirded out to ask him to always wear the Iwakuma Bear Hat, but you had to try. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want the job, which leaves you back at square one. But you realize — maybe you should try to lean on nostalgia for this role. Maybe it makes sense to hire a former Mariner as your pitching coach! You need someone with first-hand experience of this curse in order to lift it, or something like that.
You develop a plan. Three different ways of thinking, three different ways of coaching. One player with incredible smarts (and height). One with a sense of authenticity and the ability to connect with anybody (and a sick beard). And one whose remarkable baseball intelligence, and occasionally zany antics, are second to none.
If you would like to hire Chris Young, turn to Page 57.
If you would like to hire Joe Beimel, turn to Page 78.
If you would like to hire Ichiro, turn to Page 89.
Not only did you devote a sizable chunk of the stadium’s seats to a mid-rotation starter, you gave it a truly disastrous title. Rooftop Leakes? For real, what did you think was going to happen?
[Narrator]: “I’ll tell you what happened. No one showed up to Rooftop Leakes, because cheering for Mike Leake is like cheering for a sentient napkin. Also, the roof actually leaked! You did this to yourself, completing the saddest self-fulfilling prophecy of all time. 0/10 stars.”
You seriously think A.J. Pollock would sign for that pittance? Thirty-five million dollars? Think again, buster. Just like Latrell Sprewell said, he’s got a family to feed. That’s not even close to acceptable for big ol’ AJ. So he’s shut off negotiations with you.
Fortunately for you, ownership is still willing to spend some money on an outfielder. Unfortunately, you were so sure that you’d be able to sign Pollock that you didn’t even develop a Plan B. So it’s time to consult the braintrust. You call a meeting of every single person in baseball ops, with a few baseball info people thrown in for good measure. You find the biggest whiteboard you can — it’s been in storage since the last time the Mariners had one of these meetings — and start erasing everything on there. (We miss you already, Denard!)
After talking it through and going over all sorts of statistics, you settle on one name: Andrew McCutchen. Who cares if the numbers say he can’t play center anymore? Numbers only tell one side of the story. They can’t tell you jack squat about heart! Good thing you’re here to set these nerds straight. And besides, you’re only a few seasons removed from running Ketel Marte and Brad Miller (Future Superstar) out there in center. Does center field defense really matter that much?
You give Cutch a call and he promises: If you give him a three year deal for roughly $40 million, he will absolutely don the teal and green this season.
If you would like to offer him three years and $42 million and move on to the trade market to find a first baseman, turn to Page 8.
If you don’t want this aging veteran, turn to Page 64.
This is super exciting. This system has been devoid of top pitching prospects for a looooooong time, and Max Fried is the perfect antidote for that! Good thing he and Sam Carlson can be best buds now. Sam is particularly “stoked” to have his “main man Max” around so that they can “play video games and work out together.” Wonderful.
Wait ... you just got a text from Max saying his arm is a little sore. Hopefully it’s nothing.
And now you just got a text saying he’s “just getting a second opinion” from James Andrews. Um.
This is the saddest possible way to have T.I.N.S.T.A.A.P.P. (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect) drilled into your head, but yep, Max needs Tommy John surgery. You need a plan B, and FAST.
If you would like to fix things by signing Clayton Kershaw, turn to Page 41.
If you would like to triple-down and trade for Paul Goldschmidt, turn to Page 10.
If you would like to clear your mind and go for a walk, turn to Page 13.
In a puzzling, albeit hilarious move, manager Scott Servais has been shipped to Miami in exchange for the fabulously pointless home run sculpture, which the Marlins were literally going to get rid of anyway. On top of giving up a capable manager for brightly-colored titanium (and presumably paying the exorbitant cross-country shipping fees), you have nowhere to put this thing. Also, Nelson Cruz is gone, so you don’t even get to use it that much. And it’s Marlins themed. And you are the Mariners, not the Marlins. Also the home run sculpture kinda sucks. Oh well, still funny. The internet has never been happier.
Unless you’ve figured out a way to teach the home run sculpture how to orchestrate shifts and manage a bullpen and lead 25 human millionaires, you’ll need to hire a Servais replacement. As you are extremely well-connected and celebrity-adjacent, you have several Hall of Fame hitters on speed dial. Choose one to call with a managerial offer.
If you would like to make Ichiro your manager, turn to Page 55.
If you would like to make Manny Ramirez your manager, turn to Page 76.
If you would like to make Alex Rodriguez your manager, turn to Page 60.
A what? What do these grown-ass men need a hitting coach for? Why would you even sign them in the first place if they didn’t know how to hit? You’re out here trying to REVOLUTIONIZE BASEBALL and these noodle munchers in the front office are really HARSHING YOUR VIBES.
While you’re stopped at a red light in the midst of downtown construction you create a Craigslist account, and post in Jobs.
WANTED: Hitting coach. Must be able to work independently, handle egos, and not get in the way. No prior experience necessary.
Hundreds of boring résumés later (minus the one that was just a glitter bomb), you know just the choice to SHAKE THINGS UP. That’s right. Your new hitting coach is ICHIRO.
But now, those dumb ol’ soup chewers are asking you to hire a pitching coach too. And, no, you can’t just buy a Jugs machine. So what’s it gonna be?
If you would like to hire a pitching coach, turn to Page 61.
If you want to stick it to the man and use a Jugs machine anyway instead of hiring a real pitching coach, turn to Page 88.
The Pacific Northwest’s dread-headed, fertility drug-ingesting population rejoices, for their messiah has come home! Manny Ramirez is the Mariners’ manager. The same Manny Ramirez who once cut off his own center fielder, while himself playing left field, resulting in the most hilarious home run in recorded history. A baseball IQ like that is simply too good to pass up.
People (stupidly) have pointed out that most baseball coaching staffs typically have a hitting coach, and maybe you’d like to adhere to the status quos that have guided this sport for centuries.
To give those people a Manny-style high five and begin the search for a viable hitting coach, turn to Page 58.
To throw those people into the Green Monster and throw away the key, ignoring their pleas to hire a hitting coach, turn to Page 88.
Uh-oh. Looks like you may have waited a little too long to make a free agent splash. There’s almost nobody left out here, and everybody’s yelling at you, whether we’re talking about fans, pundits, or Jan from accounting. There’s one 45-year-old starter who could eat up some innings while also providing some entertainment value. Worth it?
If you can’t bring yourself to embrace baseball players born in the early 1970s, turn to Page 42.
If you want to go full-on #TEAMWEIRD and shell out a couple million bucks on this guy, turn to Page 66.
You just hired Joe Beimel as your pitching coach. I mean...sure? There are certainly worse ideas out there, but this one just feels baffling. Admittedly, you do seem to have a magic touch thus far, so it probably makes sense to just trust you on this one. And he fits very nicely with the rest of your kick-ass coaching staff.
Perhaps this changes your thinking, so let’s check in on this again. John Stanton wants a follow-up meeting ASAP. And he wants to know what your long-term vision is for this ballclub.
If you would like to push all-in for 2019, turn to Page 9.
If you would like to hold and keep focusing on the 2020 campaign, turn to Page 17.
If you would like to embrace the rebuild and tear it down, turn to Page 35.
You thought you knew anger. You thought you’d heard true vitriol. But after listening to the twelve voicemails left by his agent, holy cow were you wrong. He’s flat-out insulted by that offer! There’s no way he’s going to sign for that pitiful sum. If you don’t pony up, he’s absolutely signing elsewhere. And he’s going to tell the whooooole world that you didn’t want him badly enough! Talk about embarrassing — and talk about fan backlash.
Maybe you can find a little bit of money lying around and increase your offer. After all, you’ve got a bunch of couch cushions that probably have a few dollars between them. And, y’know, your team’s owner is a literal billionaire. This should cover it, right?
If you want to hold firm, turn to Page 56.
If you want to go ahead and give him an extra 20% in his contract, turn to Page 87.
Good call. Hisashi may be beloved, but that’s not enough of a reason to make him a pitching coach. And besides, he’d like to return to Japan to finish up his career.
Unfortunately, because you got off to a late start in the coaching market, the top choices have mostly taken other jobs by this point. Maybe if you wander around the office and take a five-minute break, inspiration will strike.
But quickly, five minutes turns into 10, which becomes 20, and before you know it you’ve spent an hour and a half in the middle of Section 306. You’re all alone up there. It’s a great place to gather your thoughts and just relax. Right as you’re about to fall asleep, that’s when it hits you. You’ve got three great ideas to solve your pitching coach vacancy.
If you would like to worship at the analytical altar and hire Chris Young, turn to Page 57.
If you would like to embrace the unknown and hire Joe Beimel, turn to Page 78.
If you would like to lean into #TeamFun and hire Ichiro, turn to Page 89.
Hey you know who’s a free agent? Marwin Gonzalez. You know who would never terrorize the Mariners again if he was, in fact, on the Mariners? Marwin Gonzalez. Plus, you’re in luck! Marwin’s agent let it slip that his client became a much better hitter after discovering CBD oil, which helps him relax at the plate.
Bringing his talents to Seattle would ease the stress on your pitching staff and allow him to get mega high all the time without worrying about Texas’ marijuana laws. You see a formal contract offer as a “Get two birds stoned at once” sort of deal.
If you would like to offer Marwin Gonzalez a four-year, $50 million bag, turn to Page 87.
If you would like to offer Marwin Gonzalez a three-year, $35 million bag, turn to Page 79.
The Dodgers have so many youngsters to choose from. Where to even begin? Time to get a hitter, that’s for sure. And fortunately for you, Alex Verdugo is just hanging out there without a spot to play. Once you get a little haggling done, you’ve got yourself a new outfielder. Is that good enough for you?
If you refuse to stop trading prospects and you still want more big leaguers, turn to Page 10.
If you would instead like to take a nap and sleep in until you have a good team in 2020, turn to Page 96.
When you approached your manager about hiring a hitting coach and you said you wanted to prioritize brains, he was intrigued. This is the kind of forward thinking the Mariners have been looking long and hard for!
Given that Driveline Baseball is located in the Northwest and that they already practice some nouveau tactics, they might seem to be a great fit for a new hitting coach. But you gotta think three steps ahead here — after all, that’s how the Astros won the World Series. So you make a call to an academic bastion where you have a connection. One of your baseball analysts, former minor league pitcher David Hesslink, is an MIT graduate who pitched for the Engineers, and he recommended his former college head coach, Andy Barlow.
Now, Andy sure seems like a great guy. And since he’s coaching at MIT, you’re sure he must be pretty dang smart. But once you announce his hiring and bring him in to work with the players, you start to see how things might go haywire. First, he requires all players to show up for games at 10 a.m. so they have enough time to “work on their p-sets.” Secondly, he only measures things in Smoots, going so far as to demand the measurements on the walls of your ballpark be converted over.
A month into the season, after Coach Barlow tells the players they have 48 hours to prepare for an impromptu midterm, there’s a revolt. The players refuse to play unless the test is cancelled (or at least graded on a very generous curve), and Barlow refuses to budge. Things are at an impasse, games are forfeited, and the Mariners quickly become the laughingstock of the league. The only bright side is that they all know how to code now, and so do you. Perhaps you’ll be able to parlay that into a new job, since, oh by the way, you were just fired.
Marco’s Polos is a go. Every fan who buys a ticket for the section gets a teal polo shirt, a pair of sunglasses with that leash thing on the back, and an unshakable feeling that their dad will sell the lake house. Weirdly, Marco loves the shit out of it. He vows to go even harder in the weight room, study even more film, and lay off the carbs.
This all looks and sounds great, but Marco is still young and fairly green to ascend to the title of true ace. You start thinking that maybe another No. 2 or No. 3-type starter could ease his burden.
To eliminate those thoughts altogether and shower Marco with love and affection, turn to Page 94.
To fall for the Sonny Gray thirst trap, turn to Page 37.
You hold a coin in your hand, mentally assigning “talk to the Angels about trading us Shohei” to heads and “sign some free agents” to tails. But since you know you’ll forget that, you write that down on your white board..along with a few other questions you want to ask your Decision Coin.
Right when you flip the coin, your office door opens to reveal Rob Manfred. Crap! You forgot you had a meeting about your pace-of-play idea. (Three balls and two strikes to end an at-bat!) He asks what you’re doing, and in your haste to pretend like you’re not making things up as you go, you just say you’re making a little friendly wager with a friend.
Rob is not amused. He bans you for life for betting on baseball.
You feel great about wrangling in such a haul for Edwin Díaz. Much of your staff feels the direct opposite feelings, and have started a group chat that constantly roasts you. There’s GIFs and everything. How do you win them back?
To tarnish Edwin’s great name and take the “He’s not that good anyway” road, turn to Page 63.
To explain the relative unimportance of relievers, and, in the interest of being nice to sweet Edwin, create a measured “Relievers are fungible, a good closer on a bad team is like owning a Ferrari in a snowy climate” argument, turn to Page 68.
Well, howdy doody, you got yourself a new outfielder! He’s celebrating by indulging in several marijuanas at once, and informed you that he will be sleeping for several days. Your assistant GM suggests that maybe you do the same; after all, you’ve earned it. The assistant GM pulls the curtain back on their cryogenic sleep chamber and assures you that nobody will bother you for as long as you’re in there. Do you take a nap?
To take a glorious, claustrophobic nap, turn to Page 96.
To tell your assistant GM that their offer is a little creepy and you prefer a normal sleep schedule, turn to Page 39.
Let me get this straight. Despite every other MLB team having a full coaching staff, you thought you could just get by without one and that things would be all hunky-dory? The clubhouse quickly falls into chaos. There are no offseason plans or analytical summits; instead, there are players-only meetings in the Bahamas figuring out ways to get rid of you. Teams are calling your assistant general manager to make deals now, completely bypassing you. The game has passed you by, and you just started working here!
An outfielder by trade, master of disguise by circumstance, and wizard by birth, Ichiro Suzuki is your pitching coach. Nobody, including Ichiro — who pointed out several times that he absolutely shouldn’t be the pitching coach — has seen anything like this. As haphazard and utterly irresponsible as it is, your coaching staff is completely full.
After you finally stop laughing, and your overmatched assistants have fanned the flames surrounding the pitchers’ room, your mind is unshackled from the guys in the dugout. Time to buckle down and assess the 25-to-40 dudes who will actually play the baseball games for the baseball team you’re in charge of. From where you’re sitting, the window of competition is two years at the longest. You can essentially smash the gas pedal for the next 730 days, or strip the car completely and dream of a new vehicle soon rolling you to brighter days.
To build for 2019, turn to Page 9.
To build for 2020, turn to Page 17.
To go full rebuild, turn to Page 35.
Your interview with Ken Rosenthal went swimmingly. He was diligent, prepared, and, most importantly, not Jon Heyman. Midway through you realize his latest bowtie contains a miniature device that administers a mild electric shock him whenever a scoop comes in. Upon seeing poor Kenneth’s neck turn a rosy shade of red, you do a quick checkup to make sure he doesn’t need medical attention.
Ken tells you that these particular shocks pertain to you specifically. According to his source at the local haberdashery, if you act now you can reel in a massive haul for either Edwin Díaz or Mitch Haniger. Please do something before Ken has a seizure.
If you would like to trade Edwin, turn to Page 100.
If you would like to trade Mitch, turn to Page 65.
Uh-oh. You may have gone one step too far, in that there’s literally no farm system left anymore. Not only did you trade all the Mariners’ good prospects, you in fact traded all of the Mariners’ prospects, period. Plus the affiliates themselves. Even the ballparks are being divvied up and shipped across the country. Frankly, I’m not sure how you managed to do that without somebody telling you it was inadvisable, but it happened and now it’s your head on the chopping block. What the heck is @MiLBMariners going to do without any teams to report on? How are we going to spend our months in the offseason without any players to dream about? It’s all on you, superstar Hall-of-Fame general manager. It’s all on you.
Michael Brantley wants to fill your left field void. You want that void filled. However, his desires are...unconventional. Brantley may be willing to take a pay cut if you can figure out a way to scientifically eliminate all memories of Trevor Bauer from his head.
If you would like to offer him 3 years, $42 million, turn to Page 87.
If you would like to offer him 3 years, $30 million, and zero recollection of any Trevor Bauer takes, turn to Page 79.
Here’s the thing about openly proclaiming that you’ll take the highest bid: You have to stick with that plan. Seattleites will appreciate your devotion to capitalism...right?
Anyway, you call a press conference to unveil the new name. Hundreds of media members and community organizers gather to hear the big news. You’re up on stage, and after counting down from three, you pull the rope to unveil…
Is that JEFF BEZOS coming on stage? And is he saying what I think he’s saying? Oh no...what have you done?
March rolls around, and by now, almost everybody has forgotten about how you turned Safeco Field into HQ2. That is, everybody other than the 50,000 Amazon employees who show up on Opening Day expecting to work at the stadium. There are so many people here, with their badges and their computers! And now the entire stadium is connected to Amazon Alexa™! There’s no way you’ll be able to play baseball here, or ever sell any tickets again. Good job, buddy. You really messed up this one.
You tell Sonny Gray to kick rocks and begin planning the Marco Gonzales 2019 Cy Young campaign. That doesn’t change the fact that you need an able body in center field. Guillermo Heredia flew south, Dee Gordon is underqualified, and Mitch Haniger’s brightest future is in right field, though he could move to center if the right pieces fell into place.
A quick perusal of available free agents directs your eyes to the M section. Marwin Gonzalez? He could be the corner outfield acquisition that brings Mitch Haniger: Center Fielder to televisions everywhere. But wait, Michael Brantley is also available, and what he lacks in defensive chops he makes up for by being one of the game’s most consistently productive hitters when healthy (an admittedly big if). Care to roll the dice on either one becoming the best M’s left fielder since...ever?
Going from “Safeco Field” to “Mariners Park” is sure to be a huge hit with the fans. You’re standing up to corporate greed and, instead, choosing to invest in your local community. Talk about a win-win! (Except that you’re probably cutting yourself out of like $5 million a year.)
Ryan Divish is beyond excited that you’ve given him such a scintillating scoop. And he really appreciates that you called him in here to give him this scoop, rather than simply waiting to announce it until his weekly pick-up game started. So he decides to help you out as well. Apparently, if you trade James Paxton in the next thirty minutes, you can get a huge haul on him. But the highest bidder is apparently within your division. Is it worth getting even more of a return for the Big Maple, only to face him multiple times per season? This is why they pay you the big bucks (although, again, that $5 million you missed out on is apparently coming directly out of your contract, so maybe you’re only getting small-to-medium-sized bucks). What’s the call?
If you want to trade Pax to the highest bidder outside of the division, turn to Page 69.
If you want to trade Pax to the highest bidder, no matter what, turn to Page 105.
You slowly open your eyes. What a nice nap that was! Boy, you feel super refreshed. What time is it?
WAIT. Weren’t you only going to take a short nap? Why the heck is it already 2021?!? Look at the field — why do you only have one player out there on the field?Actually, hold on...it’s one player, but he’s copied himself eight times to fill out the. rest of the positions. You squint to read the name on the back of the jersey. “TROUT”
That’s right. Your assistant GM comes over and explains that thanks to a huge bitcoin investment while you were zonked out, the Mariners had enough money to sign Mike Trout after the 2020 season and also invest in cloning technology.
For the first time in your life, you are truly speechless.
The team is likely going to suck. You know it, the players know it, and Big Baseball knows it. Sensing that this story could use a healthy dash of evil, Scott Boras picks up his phone and hits your line. He puts down the live bat he was about to consume and tells his housekeeper to cancel the next plate of caviar because a hilarious idea that cannot wait any longer.
Mr. Boras, in what he insists is not a crank call, tries to sell you on the idea of accepting Logan Morrison back into your life.
To bring LoMo home, turn to Page 102.
To assess your team, which is already looking pretty sorry, and come to the probably correct conclusion that Logan Morrison would make it worse, turn to Page 106.
October 30, 2025. The streets of Seattle are no longer ringed by flying Teslas and UberZ cars, nor are Amazon drones zipping up and down at all hours of the day. The sky is dark, cloudy, stormy even. The kids aren’t in school, as the education system has shut down on just a few days’ notice.
Yet this isn’t an apocalyptic nightmare. Those streets may lack cars, but they’re replaced by hundreds of thousands of people. That throng is far too ebullient to be kept down by the inclement weather. And those kids are out of school in order to celebrate the miracle of all miracles, the joy that has been only dreamt of in Seattle. Yes, the Seattle Mariners are World Champions, and today is the day of the parade. The parade where you are fêted beyond your wildest dreams.
All was well.
A measured rebuild makes sense. Trading James Paxton makes sense. It doesn’t make dealing away a franchise icon any easier, but it does make sense. You’re seconds away from clicking that “SEND” button to the Commissioner’s Office to finalize a trade when your door bursts open. A man walks in, and you’ve never seen anyone like him before. He has a long green trench coat, with crazy hair and a delightful smile. He seems like he could easily pass for Santa Claus at an office holiday party, or for Matthew McConaughey in a Cast Away remake, but only if he spent his first day on the island eating all the airplane food he could find.
The man extends his right hand and shows you what he calls a magic coin. On one side, there’s the Mariners’ compass rose logo; on the other side, the trident. Both are glowing. He swears that this coin will certainly show you the proper path. All you have to do is trust the process.
If you would like to trust this magic man and his magic coin, since nothing else has worked, turn to Page 85.
If you categorically refuse and would rather sign a few free agents to round this squad out, turn to Page 104.
Operation Edwin to the Braves nets the exact results you were looking for. The return package from Atlanta includes tantalizing young bloods Kyle Wright and Drew Waters. The rebuild is way on, and there’s no debating that any longer.
The next logical step rests on the burly, Canadian shoulders of one James Paxton. You essentially just want to unload him on the highest bidder, and are confident baseball will reward you with some goodies.
If you want to trade Pax to the highest bidder outside of the division, turn to Page 69.
If you want to trade Pax to the highest bidder, no matter what, turn to Page 105.
Instead of calling Ryan, you send him a DM over Twitter asking him to drop by the office for a friendly chat. He first assumes you’re just another troll complaining to him about the lineup (which, y’know, fair), but then realizes that this is the real deal.
He decides to start off with a softball question. Safeco Field’s naming rights deal just ended, and his bosses at the Seattle Times are intent on scooping the new name. Um...what did they decide to do with the name, again?
If the Mariners chose to sell the name to the highest bidder, turn to Page 93.
If the Mariners decided to ignore corporate sponsorship and name the place Mariners Park, turn to Page 95.
All six of Morrison’s Seattle-area fans come flooding back to purchase season tickets. You are downright thrilled with the idea of a .239 career hitter that can play first base AND outfield. He did, after all, hit 38 homers a few seasons ago. Any time you can block Dan Vogelbach at his only position with a man who is essentially Aggro Dan Vogelbach (and was the 666th pick in the draft, because of course he was), you absolutely have to do it.
The reunification with LoMo brings a palpable nostalgia for the 2014 Mariners, which, much like the 2018 edition, was in the playoff race for most of the season despite probably not being all that good.
“Who cares though?” you shout to a pigeon who has become your only friend. “Let’s get the band back together.”
To take a whole bunch of mescaline with this pigeon and sign Dustin Ackley, turn to Page 67.
To have a pigeon of all things talk some sense into you, and hold off on a Dustin Ackley homecoming, turn to Page 106.
With James Paxton gone, Seattle’s most creative, dedicated fan section needs a new outlet. A quick perusal of the starting pitching depth chart leaves a few tasty options.
If you would like to turn the Maple Grove into a public access section called Wade’s World that permanently smells of weed, Pepsi, and old hockey jerseys, turn to Page 50.
If you would like to honor Mike Leake with a fittingly-porous section named Rooftop Leakes, turn to Page 71.
If you would like to go full pun and pay tribute to Marco Gonzales with a Vineyard Vines-sponsored area known tragically as Marco’s Polos, turn to Page 84. (Please don’t pick this one unless you want the good people of the Maple Grove to resemble an SEC football student section.)
Let’s fast forward to February 5. It’s the company Super Bowl party, which you’ve moved to the middle of the infield this year, and your phone rings. It’s that all-too-familiar 732 area code, but by this point (after three months on the job) you’re used to hearing from the man formerly in your shoes, Jerry Dipoto.
Jerry asks how the party is going, since he’s holed up in the basement and hasn’t been allowed to leave, lest he secretly make a trade. When you try to answer, he cuts you off excitedly. He weaves you a tale of the missing piece — one last deal that will put the Mariners over the top. Of course, when you try to figure out what that trade is, he refuses to say. You look up at the Jumbotron, watching Maroon 5 flail during the halftime show. You’re not sure why they’re performing, given that they’re past their prime (oohhhhhh THAT’s why they’re performing). Is Trader Jerry past his prime? Or does he have one last genius move in him?
If you want to trust Jerry Dipoto, turn to Page 91.
If you instead want to put your faith in your carefully-reasoned plan, turn to Page 98.
I regret to inform you that the Angels are the highest bidder. You watch through tears as Jimmy Pax sets the AL West ablaze, winning the 2019, 2020, and 2022 Cy Youngs. You bemoan Seattle’s lack of theme parks as James and Katie Jo document their regular trips to Disneyland via Instagram. You wish you had surrounded him with better as he uses his new geographic location, and proximity to greatness, to star in a buddy cop movie with Mike Trout. (You feel better after this movie is regarded as one of the biggest flops in box office history.)
Above all else, you try to surgically repair your permanently-dropped jaw as Paxton clubs .263/.347/.514 with 18 home runs when the Angels agree to let him hit. Mariner fans could not be angrier.
You’ve put together quite a squad, and that’s meant in all the bad ways. 2019 goes just as you’d expect it. There are so many awful, terrible, horrible, no good moments to reflect on — was the lowlight watching Daniel Vogelbach pitch in a mid-May matinee? What about that time when Kyle Seager accidentally threw his bat and it hit the third base coach? Or when the lights went out throughout SoDo and the game took six hours? (Okay, it took so long mostly because the Yankees were in town, but still.)
But once 2020 rolls around, things start to get a little bit brighter. Your prospects are starting to shine, especially JULIOOOOOOO! The fan base is getting excited. Garlic fries are now served in the cafeteria. Last year’s 66–96 debacle was rough, but making it up to 83–79 is better. And 2021? Baby, everything is coming up Northwest Green this year. We’re talking Daniel Vogelbach, All-Star pitcher. We’re talking Kyle Seager de León, the newest patron of the Fountain of Youth. We’re talking a consistent winner.
You did it. Congratulations.
Rejoice! Nelson Cruz is back. Dingers and eyebrow kits for everyone. With that heartwarming move, you have signified that the team wants to compete in 2019. Your attention now shifts to center field, where a nice young man named A.J. Pollock resides for 162 days a year.
If you would like to offer A.J. Pollock a four-year, $65 million deal, turn to Page 45.
If you would like to offer A.J. Pollock a three-year, $35 million deal, turn to Page 72.
There are many different ways to pacify the fans. Sure, you could try to build a consistent winner, a team that would be talked about in Seattle for years to come. You could create a festive atmosphere at your ballpark, or turn the franchise into a regional jewel.
But you ignored literally all of that. You signed Brad Miller and decided to keep going down that path. And just like that, you made offers to Austin Jackson, Logan Morrison, Oliver Perez, Denard Span, Shawn Kelley, Adrian Beltre, Wade Miley, J.A. Happ, and Adam Jones. Seriously: every single one.
So now, here you are, waiting for the Mariners of yesteryear to sign up to be Mariners of today. Your assistant general manager rushes into your office, knocking over your Yuniesky Betancourt bobblehead collection in their haste.
“This is absolutely insane! Are you sure you want to do this?”
If you’ve changed your mind and you’d like to spend elsewhere, turn to Page 92.
If you’re sure that you want to sign them, and in fact, you’d like to offer them extra money to sweeten the deal (BRING. THEM. HOME.), turn to Page 102.
You improbably sign Machado AND Harper. But, in a devastating clerical error, accidentally get Dixon Machado, who is very bad, and George Harper, who is very dead. Even worse, you endure a PR nightmare after being forced to hold a press conference explaining why you signed a dead guy.
The team does not improve.
You’re a little peeved at just how little money ownership is willing to give you, so you decide to take out your frustration on Manny Machado’s agent. You whip out your phone and compose a text.
“We want Manny, and we want him bad.”
“Okay, the Dodgers are offering 8 years, $300 million. What have you got?”
“10 years, $50 million.”
“And the naming rights to the team”
Nothing. Then, ten minutes later, you get a text back.
“Manny’s in. He can’t wait to play for the Mannies Being Mannies”
You look at the text, take a minute, and begin to compose another text to John Stanton.
“Look, boss. I’ve got good news and bad news…”
He isn’t amused. You’re fired.
As your mom always says, everybody gets better once they leave the Mariners. Justin Smoak is no exception to that, but since he’s now back on the squad, perhaps the magic will remain! Having a solid first baseman for years to come is gonna be nice.
There’s a knock at your door. You walk over and open it to reveal Daniel Vogelbach, in full uniform, cleats and all. Never mind that it’s the middle of November, he’s there and he’s ready. Oh, and he’s not happy.
“I’m not happy,” Vogdor drawls. “I was told that big, lumbering lefty first basemen with high on-base percentages and good power couldn’t play for this organization! What the heck does this trade mean for me??”
Honestly, he’s got a point. You hadn’t really thought of him. You kinda just assumed that he’d always be there, mashing for Tacoma and providing a great foil for fans up in arms about the direction of their beloved Mariners. You fumble for words, hemming and hawing, but Vogdor is having none of it. He announces he’s going to become a pitcher, and he’ll “prove you wrong.” Uh, sure.
Okay, back to work. How do you feel about this team?
If you would like to acquire just one more hitter, turn to Page 12.
If you would like to move your attention to the pitching market, turn to Page 30.
Stop the presses. Hold the phones. After working day and night for weeks on end, and after an all-out pitch from your baseball operations department, you’ve convinced Bryce Harper to sign with the Seattle Mariners. What a coup! What a day this will be in Seattle sports history! And to think, you only have to give the man a 12-year contract worth $450 million.
Unfortunately, once the ink dries and the news has been announced, rumblings start to emanate from upstairs. On your lunch break at the local Taco Del Mar, you see people looking at you and whispering to each other, and then scurrying away when you approach them. That’s not a good sign.
You return to the office to find a hastily-scribbled index card on top of your keyboard.
COME SEE ME
That’s not a good sign. It’s even worse when you realize that your computer is gone — and so is every other computer in sight.
You travel up the stairs, certain you’ve been called into the principal’s office and that the news isn’t going to be good. But once you open the door, you realize the full effects of what you’ve wrought. Staffers are running down the hallways, shouting on the phones, sounding like stock traders attempting to get peanuts on the dollar for their now-worthless shares. And, amidst it all, John Stanton stands alone, hanging his head.
“We’re bankrupt,” Stanton says forlornly. He sighs. “We’ve given all our money to Bryce Harper. It’s over.”
You stare aghast as chaos continues to reign. It turns out that in your haste to put the finishing touches on the Harper contract, you never checked the fine print that says he’s due all $450 million within 24 hours of the contract’s signing. Perhaps you should have consulted that lawyer. But it’s too late now.
Good luck finding a new job. Good luck finding a new city. Good luck living this one down.
“Fantastic!” Stanton exclaims. “We’re so excited to have you on board. You’re going to have a great time here…”
As the M’s owner waxes poetic about the remarkable company culture they have, and the happy hours, and the snack bar in the office, your eyes start to glaze over. You’re already a little nervous about your first day. That’s natural, right? I mean, you might not have any professional baseball experience, but that’s fine. This will be so exciting and so much fun. You fax over the contract right away without even looking at the salary.
Ten minutes later, your phone buzzes again. It’s @MarinersPR, probably announcing your hiring. Then you get a phone call from a number you don’t recognize with a 732 area code. Toms River, New Jersey?
“Hi, it’s Jerry Dipoto. There’s no easy way to say this, but you’ve been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. We wish you all the best on this next adventure in your baseball career.”
Thank you for reading! This project has been in the works for over two months now and delayed many times due to “actual” news. Huge shoutout to Matthew for writing basically all the funny parts in here.