It is June 23rd. Brady Aiken has arrived with his family to Houston for a routine physical, contract signing, and then a press conference. Fans will be able to buy an "Aiken 1" jersey in the Team Store for a ridiculously stupid amount of money. But wait. Your medical team finds that Brady Aiken has an abnormally small UCL in his throwing elbow. Injury risks are inconclusive, but if that ligament gives, Tommy John surgery may not solve the problem.
You look back at your 25-page plan pitched to Jim Crane. You promised to milk the most value out of every dollar he put in, rebuild the franchise via the draft and stockpiling prospects. That said, spending $6.5m on a pitcher whom you firmly believe will have a significant elbow issue, does not fit in with The Process. The media won't like it. Peter Gammons is going to rip you a new exit. The capillaries in Buster Olney's nose will burst (and not just because Vermont winters can be very dry). Ken Rosenthal's anger and righteous indignation will rise to new heights (5'4"). But you know that the media's approval doesn't add anything to the win column.
Will the fans hate it? Yeah, but they've been through a lot in the last five years. They'll get over it. Sure, they'll probably say they can't support the team anymore, but whatever. They've been saying that for five years. They'll come running back when the team is in contention.
To honor the deal in place with Aiken, despite your medical concerns, turn to Page 187.
To alter the structure of the deal with Casey Close, turn to Page 52.