Ruben, Jon, and Cole, v.3.

Ring tone sounds (“Canary in a Coal Mine” by the Police).  Ruben picks up his phone.

“R.A.J. here, yo.  Who dis?”  

“Enough, Ruben.” 

“Jon!  What up, Broseph?!?  Thanks for calling back!  Cole pitched yesterday.” 

“Yeah, man.  I know.  Whatcha got, Ruben?” 

“He was really good and now I want a lot more for him.”  

“Ruben, you didn’t say you’d take less after those two eggs he laid the two times before.” 

“I didn’t?”  

“We’ve gone down this path, and you know what we’ll give up and what we won’t.”   

“But!”  

“Deal with us or don’t.  We both need to move on.”  

“All the writers are saying you guys are the frontrunners!”  

“Are we?” 

“I think I need to ask Pat and Andy that.” 

“Have you?” 

“Have I what?” 

[silence]

“One of those writers, Ken Something, said he has sources telling him there’s ‘momentum building toward [a] Hamels trade’ and that ‘offers have improved since [the] no-hitter’ and that ‘teams [are] asking for less money [and] offering better players.’  Like how I added those bracket-y things?”  

“I have a good idea where that source came from, Ruben.”  

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Chief.” 

“Why’d you call, Ruben?” 

“Dodgers! Cubs! Giants! Yankees! Red Sox!” 

“Yes?”  

“Dodgers!”  

“What if Friedman is targeting a reunion with Price?  Would cost less since he’s a rental, plus I bet they think they can extend him in the winter.  Stark says they’re the favorites along with us on Cole — this makes more sense for us because we’re more focused on the long term that LA is.  They’re in on rental pitchers we’d never consider.  They’re also interested in Gallardo and he’d cost exponentially less in prospects.”  

“Gallardo has had a couple rough ones lately.” 

“As did Cole, before yesterday.”  

“Cubs!!”  

“What if Maddon is pushing for Price?  Or Shields?”  

“Giants!!!”  

“No-trade clause.  Red Sox, too.”  

“Oh.”  

“And the Yankees can’t give you what you want, especially if Severino and Judge and Bird are off the table.”  

“Oh.”  

[#moustache

“Hey, Boss, there’s a local writer here in Philly, Jim Salisbury or something, who just wrote: ‘For beleaguered general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who did not accompany the team to Chicago, Christmas came on July 25.’  A couple things about that, Dude, just so you don’t get the wrong idea . . . . ”   

“OK.”  

“First, who’s he calling a B Leaguer?  I played in THE BIGS, man.” 

[silence

“Second, I didn’t understand the Christmas thing, but Pat told someone at the Hall of Fame ceremonies that Cole’s ‘price just went up’ after his no-hitter.  Did you know Cole threw a no-hitter?”  

[silence

“Anyway, I asked Andy what that meant and he said that’s what the Christmas thing was about.  I have no idea what he’s talking about but I wanted to make sure you knew I don’t really think yesterday was Christmas.”  

“OK, man.  Gotcha.” 

“Trade for Cole, Jon.  [sobs]  Get him out of the National League, Jon.” 

“Well, I can help you out there, but you gotta help me, too.”  

“I know he hasn’t pitched well lately — I saw his ERA is 8.22 over his last three starts . . . ”    

“Yeah, well . . . ”   

“I know he’ll bounce back, Jon.  He’s a good pitcher.  He’s good at pitching.”  

“Agree.” 

“He’s nails in the post-season!”  

“Right.”  

“And I know he threw 129 pitches yesterday, but know what he did last time he followed up a 120-pitch effort?”  

“Tell me.”  

“Not sure.  Was hoping you could tell me.”  

“There are websites, Ruben.”  

“What does 7-4-0-0-1-12 mean, Boss?”  

“Is that what he did after his last 120-pitch game?”  

“Yes.” 

[silence

“Last year he hit 120 pitches four times.  The totals for the four starts after those: 29.2-19-4-4-5-35.  I don’t think that’s terrible.” 

[silence

“Nomar Mazara homered yesterday, Jon.” 

“I know.” 

“Give him to me!!” 

“Don’t think so, Ruben.  But what’s the whole deal?  Money too.” 

“You think I’m gonna tell you that?!?”  

“That’s how this works.” 

[silence

[silence]

“The writers in your town are saying the deal would have to include Mazara or Alfaro.”   

“Is that true?”  

“You think I’m gonna tell you that?!?”  

“Ruben.”  

“Jeff Passan says the ‘industry sentiment has Rangers as favorites for Cole Hamels.  Long-term motivation, prospects to swing a deal, and Hamels can’t block trade.’  How about that?” 

“It’s sort of up to you, Ruben.” 

“That Salisbury dude says you guys are in the lead on this.  So does Danny Knobler.”  

“Again, Ruben . . . . ”  

“Johnny Cueto is off the market — one less pitcher I gotta compete with!”   

“And one less team that the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Yankees, and Red Sox have to compete with to get their guy.”  

“Oh.”  

“See what the Reds got for Cueto?”  

“Yep.  Solid haul.”  

“I’m offering a better package.”  

“As you should.”  

“As I have.”  

“And that Ken guy wrote that Houston had a scout at Cole’s game yesterday, too.  He said the Astros are ‘staying on [the] periphery, knowing that not many teams can offer what [the] Phillies want.’  Houston, too, Jon — they’re in!”  

“Ruben.”  

“Yes?”  

“One, no-trade clause.  Two, circle back on the last part of Rosenthal’s comment.  That’s my leverage, not yours.”  

“What-ev’s.” 

[A different voice is heard.  Quiet.  Almost a whisper.]  

Jon.”  

“Yes?”  

It’s Cole.”  

“Hey, man.  Nice job yesterday.”  

Get me out of here, Jon.”  

“We’re trying to line up, Cole.  Up to your bosses if it works out.” 

Get me out of here, Jon.  Play the X.”    

“Looking at it, man.”  

I want to play with Yu, man.”  

“That would be the idea.  Hear ya.”  

My next start is Friday.  The trade deadline expires a few hours before it.  Get me out of here.” 

“We want you here, man.  If it makes sense.”  

Ruben is twirling my moustache.  Get me out of here.  And make Ruben stop twirling my moustache. 

“Working on it.” 

[scampering metal cleats heard, at diminishing volumes

“Jon, still there?”  

“Never left, Ruben.”  

“Back atcha in a bit — got a couple national writers to go feed first!”  

“I’ll be here.” 

 
title_authors

Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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