The panic set in late Thursday. The Boston Red Sox had just sent shock waves with the rumored news that they were close to an agreement on a one year deal with Ryan Sweeney. The Tampa Bay Rays, their $500 budget already stretched to the max, quietly conceded the season behind closed doors.
"It's just not fair," complained one anonymous Tampa Bay executive. "We just can't compete with that sort of fire power."
Baltimore Orioles team president quickly called a meeting of all essential and non-essential staff in order to discuss the team's options. The Blue Jays, all hope for the season lost, began quietly shopping Jose Bautista, prepared to take any prospect package whatsoever, realizing that their hopes to be competitive would have to wait until at least 2013. Unless the Red Sox managed to re-sign Sweeney. The thought made the room cold.
It was with this backdrop that the Yankees began their frenzied quest to find the sort of pitching that would allow them to at least contain Boston and their new nuclear weapon. The Yankees, long believed to have the worst pitching staff in baseball, had long ago abandoned hopes for the 2012 season.
"We weren't sure we'd even bother to field a team," explained one Yankee executive. "I mean, we had CC and then question marks. Question marks don't win baseball games, pitchers do! And frankly, we can make more money hosting weekly Jay-Z concerts at the stadium than fielding a loser."
Brian Cashman assembled his staff for a late night impromptu meeting. It was clear from the red in their eyes that many had been crying for hours.
"Where do we go from here?" Cashman asked. The silence in the room seemed to suffocate everything except the sense of despair.
But the Yankees had one last trick up their sleeve. One final glimmer of hope that made them think maybe they could pull off a miracle. The Yankees had Jesus Montero.
Jesus Montero was the only catcher ever to hit a home run in his rookie season. His batting average, power, and speed was matched only by his will to win. He was the Yankee of the future. The Yankees knew, however, that if they wanted to compete with Boston, they would have to try to trade him.
"It was hard to swallow," explained one Yankees executive. "Here we have the greatest hitting catcher of all time and we're talking about trading him. I mean, even if we found a team willing to take on the overwhelming responsibility of having a player like him on their roster, what could we possibly get for him? For me, it was like that 'Beauty and the Beast' movie where the clock and the candelabra are friends even though everybody knows they're natural enemies. It just didn't make any sense!"
The Yankees front office worked through the night. They inquired about the availability of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee from Philadelphia, but the Phillies were concerned about their inability to retain Montero once he became a free agent. The San Francisco Giants balked at a chance to have Montero in exchange for Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, fearing the environmental impact on McCovey Cove from the inevitable barrage of official Major League baseballs hurtling towards the delicate aquatic eco-system at mind-numbing speeds. The answer was a firm 'no'. The terror in the Yankees' hearts was beginning to feel like a permanent fixture.
Then, out of extreme desperation, Brian Cashman picked up the phone and called a GM so powerful, no one even knows how to spell his last name.
"Jack, it's Brian. I have a proposition for you."
With these words the Yankees and Mariners embarked on a path that would soon unsettle not only the baseball world, but 150 years of conventional sports wisdom. When the dust had finally settled, the sky again visible for the first time in what felt like years, the Yankees had traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.
Pineda, a 7'4" knuckleballer, now made the Yankees the favorites not only to win the World Series, but this year's NBA Championship as well. Boston filed an official protest with the Commissioner's office, accusing the Yankees and Mariners of collusion. The complaint fell on deaf ears.
"This wasn't about collusion," explained Brian Cashman. "This was about restoring balance to the force. It had to be done."