Jerry Dipoto woke in a stupor. What had hit him? Jesus. His head was pounding and it felt like he was underwater. Everything he tried to do was harder than it should be. Where was he? Was this his office? It was. But it was a mess. Tables had been overturned and someone had rifled through his desk drawers
His eyes began to clear and he saw a DVD taped to his television set.
“Play me,” was written in bold letters on it.
Dipoto crawled toward the TV, reached up with a good deal of effort and grabbed the disk. God, why was he moving so slowly? He put the disk into the blue-ray player and pressed Play.
Squinting, he saw someone sit down in frame. He couldn’t make out who it was. But when he spoke, Jack Zdurencik’s voice was unmistakable, “Are we spinning yet? Good.”
Dipoto balled is hands into fists, digging his fingernails into his palms. Somehow that made him feel better.
“Dipoto! How are you doing, baby? You never call me no more. Where’s the love? Now, how are you feeling? I can guess it! You’re feeling like crap about now; you can’t move. When you move too quickly, you can’t breathe. What’s the matter with you dude?”
His vision clearing, Jerry Dipoto saw Jack Z’s face twist into a wicked grin, “Oh wait! What is this?” Zdurncik raised a syringe into view. “Oh man! Can you guess what this is?”
Poison! It had to be! Dipoto grabbed his television and smashed it to the floor. That felt a little better. On the verge of panic, Dipoto grabbed his phone and called The Doc.
“DOC!” he yelled. “It’s Jerry! I’ve been poisoned! It feels like my whole body is shutting down.”
“Listen to me,” Doc said in a calm, measured voice. “That stuff in your system is shutting everything down. I can help you, but until I get there, you have to keep your adrenaline up. However you can, you have to keep pushing yourself. Find the thing that makes you the most excited. Just keep doing that. If you stop, you will die.”
With that, Dipoto hung up on Doc, and started making calls. First, he sent Vidal Nuno to the Dodgers. Then he picked up Danny Valencia from the A’s. He made a small deal with the Yankees and then one with the Rays. Later, he made a big deal, getting Jean Segura and more for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. He dealt Alex Jackson to the Braves. He got Chris Heston for nothing from the Giants. Then he sent one starter (Nate Karns to the Royals for an outfielder (Jarrod Dyson) only to send another outfielder (Seth Smith) to the Orioles for a different starter (Yovani Gallardo). He exchanged prospects with the Braves and then sent one of those prospects to the Rays for Drew Smyly. He made a minor deal again with Oakland, sent Jesus Sucre to the Rays, and picked up Chase DeJong from the Dodgers.
Finally, after 14 trades, those wells had run dry. He’d been going back to his regular spots too often. No one was returning his calls. Where was that damn doctor?
Desperate, he scrolled through his phone, looking for another name. There! He pressed a couple buttons and the phone began to ring. Someone picked up on the other end.
“Matt! Matt Klentak!” Dipoto shouted, not waiting to hear the other voice.
“Speaking,” said a sleeping voice on the other end of the line.
“This is Jerry Dipoto in Seattle. Listen to me. I’ve been poisoned. I have to keep trading or I will die. You have to help me keep trading. What do you want?”
“Oh gee,” said Klentak, “I don’t know. It’s close to the start of the season, and we’re pretty set. We’re set with lefty relievers. We’re set with righty relievers.”
“What about ambidextrous relievers?”
“Well, I guess we don’t have one of those,” Klentak responded.
“Great, I’ll send you Pat Venditte. You send me…whatever.”
“Joey Curletta? He had a good half season in A-ball and then struggled after being promoted to the Texas League.”
“Great. Perfect. Don’t care,” Dipoto responded and hung up.
The deal was done. He was safe…for now. But for how long? And would he live long enough to get his revenge? Tune in next time.
(Note: Thanks to Brandon Liebhaber, the broadcaster for the Jackson Generals, who I think originally made the comparison between Dipoto and Chev Chelios yesterday in a conversation we were having.)