Monday, February 12, 2018

Waiting for the last deals of the flea market

Every Saturday, around 1 p.m., the flea market universe collapses. Minutes before closing, each vendor ponders all his unsold crapola - the staggering secret treasures of civilization that now must be hauled back to the barn - and goes Jason Vorhees on slashing prices. That hand-painted sign saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder?" It drops from $4 to $2. That NY Giants wind chime made from an aluminum Bud Light bottle and blue/red can openers? It falls to $4. I am not making this up. The value of these cultural heirlooms, niceties beyond our ability to perceive, collapses like Bitcoin. To not buy the clock that sounds bird calls upon each hour - even if the goddamm thing doesn't work - is no longer an option. 

Mark these words: The MLB winter flea market is getting ready to close. Unsigned free agents face the possibility of having to cart all their bats, gloves and shoes to Bradenton, for a players union camp. There, a foul ball that breaks a toe, or a twinge in the ankle while running to first, will become life-changing events, threatening the future of their families. The union might indemnify them in some way, but it won't be like having an MLB contract. The players have been routed this winter, the score is 66-0, with the owners wanting more. Last year, around now, the Yankees signed the reigning NL home run leader, Chris Carter, for next to nothing. (Sadly, they got what they paid for, but that's another story.) So what 600-pound manatee might they hook this week?

Generally, I avoid projecting trades or deals, because it quickly becomes fantasy football, and nobody ever predicts Cashman's moves. But here are few names being discussed.

Neil Walker. He's 32, plays 2b and hit .265 with 14 HRs last year. Advantage: He's played in NY as a Met, and he can also play 1b, in case Greg Bird gets hurt. Disadvantage: He made $17 mill last year - way out of our price range, and he would virtually end the spring training competition at 2b, sentencing either Glyber Torres or Miguel Andular to a season at Scranton. Bad future karma, right?

Mike Moustakas, 29, plays 3b; hit 38 HR and batted .272 last year. Would create a "dream team" scenario, if he's willing to sign a one-year deal. But why would he? This should be his big payout year - he made only $8 mill last season in KC. Imagine him in our lineup, quite possibly batting eighth. Good grief, a Murderers Row. Would he take a one-year deal at, say, $12 mill, if it included a virtual certainty to play in the post-season? 

Jake Arrieta (31) or Lance Lynn (30). I lump them together. Each is slightly past his career sell date. Neither is Yu Darvish, but either would fill our sixth starter needs. Big question: Does any starting pitcher's market value ever fall? Surely, each wants that last big contract, the one that guarantees home and hearth. They probably want five years at $12-$15 million. Would Cashman overreach in going for the brass rail?

The flea market is closing soon. Deals are going to start popping. Cashman has about $10 million in his pocket. It's hard to imagine him not spending it, and you know what they say about pitchers: Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. 


John M said...

Starlin Castro has requested to be traded from the Marlins.

Wonder if we'd take him back, and at what price? Castro at second, Moustakas at third. The kids stonewalled to become trade fodder or career back-ups with the Yankees.

I'm just saying. There's been weirder.

HoraceClarke66 said...

No Moustakas, who looks like one of the manatees wearing tee-shirts in that Geico ad.

No Neil Walker, with his steadily shrinking range, and bound to miss 50 games on the season just like clockwork.

No "innings-eaters," who end up eating up your bullpen, Jaret Wright-style.

Lock this team down, and let the internal competition begin.

And as it happens, the Times did not deign to cover either soccer or the Yankees today. Hey, they had to run that piece explaining curling! And luge—as if there is anything difficult to comprehend about luge.

Anyway, that leaves it at Soccer 8, Yankees 4, in February, and for the year...what you see in that column on the left.

"Happy birthday, Abie-baby
Happy birthday to you!"

Anonymous said...


Nice Hair reference. I was in the Camp Towanda production of Hair. I played Berger and if you haven't seen twelve year old Jews singing Three-Five-Zero-Zero you pretty much missed the true cultural experience.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, Doug! I was hoping someone would get it.

"Three-Five-Zero-Zero" is a kick ass that will never be performed again, I'm sure, because of another bad word in it. Too bad.

Did you guys have a big debate over whether or not to get naked at the end of the first act? I remember seeing a "Room 222" when that debate took place, with a thinly veiled (no pun intended!) "Hair" production.

Anonymous said...


No never saw it. But amazingly I have a postcard with a picture of the cast of Room 222 on the wall of my laundry room as part of a very strange amalgamation of 60's and 70's TV shows.

Basically, there was this service in LA that handled the fulfillment of autograph requests for TV shows. They provided pre-printed "signed" postcards to the productions to send to fans.

I had some business over there during the 80's and marveled at the piles of post cards from all of these no longer existing shows and the guy said, "So take some. You'd be doing me a favor" and I ended up with around twenty. Everything from "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and "Time Tunnel" to a GREAT GREAT Gomez Adams.

I picked up one of those large multi-picture frames (The kind your Grandma might have 2' x 3' for all the family photos) for $2 at a garage sale and slapped them in there. It's pretty cool.

Oh, and no nudity and no debate. It wasn't a theater camp. Just your typical Western PA Jewish camp with an Indian name.

Doug K.