Chapter list for At The Deadline

  1. At the deadline
  2. At the Deadline, Part 2

As we hit the Major League non-waiver trade deadline today, we also reach the conclusion of our story.  Pleased read part one first (see the link in the table of contents at the top of the article).

Buzz immediately grab his phone and called Prescott Williams.

“What now, Bismarck?  You trying to get Blanchett for thirty cents on the dollar?”

“I’m actually calling about Ray Mitchell.”

“Ray Mitchell?  Why on earth would you want him?  He’s a sieve at third base – your guy is a much better all around player.”

“Yours is not to wonder why, Prescott.  I’ll give you Oscar Bishop for him.”

Prescott Williams pondered for about ten seconds before snapping up the deal.

Next,  Bismarck dialed the number of George Peyton.

“George, this is Buzz.  I have that right handed power bat yu have been looking for.  Ray Mitchell.”

“Ray Mitchell?  I’ve been trying to pry him away, but that doodoo head Williams was insisting that they were in the race and needed to hang onto all of their core players.”

“They’re no longer in the race, George.  Al Blanchett took a liner off his leg.  From the sound of the impact, he has a fracture and he’s done for the year.”

“Shit.  I hadn’t heard that.  When did it happen?”

“About five minutes ago.”

“And you jumped in like a piranha,” laughed Peyton.  “OK, Mitchell would definitely give us some thunder, though we’d probably need to DH him.  What are you looking for?”

“Vance Barcone.”

“I’ll have to check with the boss and get back to you.  Barcone is one of our better minor league pitchers.”

“Mitchell is the bat that can get you into the playoffs, George.  If you don’t want him, others in your division will.  Fish or cut bait.”

“Just give me five minutes,” begged Peyton.

“You have three minutes,” replied Bismarck, as he hung up.  The key, as always, was to keep the pressure on and force the other team to act more quickly than they wanted to.

Buzz chomped a handful of corn nuts, swigged some Coke, and burped violently.  Two and a half minutes later, his phone rang.  Peyton was able to pull the trigger, and Vance Barcone was a member of the Jackals.  Buzz quickly went to work on pushing Barcone out of the Jackals organization and onto his final destination.

It was a mere ninety minutes before the trade deadline when Buzz was able to reach Gordon Auth.

“Gordo,” exclaimed Bismarck.  “If you’re still looking to deal Travis Wolf, I might have a deal for you.  I just nabbed Vance Barcone from the Rhinos.  I could bundle him with Lewis Burke.”

“From a talent perspective, that’s about right,” replied Auth.  “How much cash are you willing to throw into the deal?”

“Cash?” replied Bismarck, with a tinge of shock entering his voice.  “We’re taking Wolf’s salary off your hands.  We’re already helping you  with your finances.”

“We’ve been having some bad financial times, Buzz.  You know that.  You’re going to have to sweeten the pot with a few million bucks to get the deal done.”

“No way,” replied Bismarck.  “I have another deal brewing to get Blanchett from the Sharks.”  Bismarck was bluffing, praying Gordon Auth hadn’t heard the news of the injury to Blanchett.

Gordon Auth sighed audibly.

“Can you throw me some sort of a bone, Buzz?  I’d like to be able to tell the boss that I was able to get at least a bit of cash in the deal.”

“Tell you what, Gordy.  I could include two million in the deal if you throw in that Willewaldt kid.”

Bismarck could sense the uncertainty on the other end of the phone.  Auth tended to have a good handle on the players at the upper levels of the minor leagues, but had the tendency to ignore all but the elite prospects at the lower level.  Bismarck doubted that Auth was aware  of the metrics that indicated that Willewaldt was a considerably better player that his raw stats indicated.  There was a distinct possibility that Auth was completely unaware of Willewaldt.  Getting Willewaldt for two million would be a steal.  Buzz went for the kill.

“Gordy, I have Prescott Williams on the other line,” he lied.  “We’re very close on the parameters of a deal for Blanchett.  What should I tell him?”

The game of chicken had come to a head – and understandably, the weaker GM succumbed.

“OK,” replied Auth.  “I’ll send in the paperwork.”

Buzz hung up the phone and released a celebratory fart.  With Travis Wolf on board, the Jackals had a very strong chance of making it to the playoffs.  Not only that, but he had bought Willewaldt for considerably below fair market value.   The day wasn’t over, though.  He still needed to submit the paperwork to the league office.  He hammered away on the keyboard of his laptop until the documentation had been filed.

Buzz grabbed his phone for one last call.  He reached Commissioner Jaylene Wrigley to inform her of the trades – just in case the technology failed.  As Bismarck listened to her voice, he could not help but be reminded of that weekend in Vegas when too much tequila had caused Jaylene to make some rather poor decisions – much to the benefit of the league’s Don Juan, Mr. Buzz Bismarck himself.  After his mild flirting had been rebuffed, the call ended.  Buzz turned on the TV, and flopped down on the futon in the middle of the office, where he promptly fell asleep.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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