TROY — As another rosy-fingered dawn broke over the walled city on Tuesday, the Aegean League’s winter meetings suddenly ramped up the intrigue, with new rumors swirling over a potential “trade of the century” involving the league’s two biggest sluggers. Hector and Achilles are both coming off career years, with the former having rewritten the record books by personally slaughtering 31,000 Greek warriors, while his counterpart achieved the unprecedented feat of challenging and defeating the river-god Skamandros. The two men have spent the last four seasons trading off the league’s MVP award, and are widely expected to finish one-two in this year’s voting yet again.
It’s not hard to come up with reasons why a trade such as this would benefit both parties. Though the talent level in the Greek dugout is unmatched, leadership issues and other off-the-field distractions derailed their chances at a title this season. Adding a respected player like Hector to the mix — a stabilizing presence in the clubhouse, as well as a steady producer at the plate — might provide the crucial missing ingredient for a championship run next year. On the other hand, Hector’s performance in the clutch has been called into question at times, and the “tamer of horses” is entering the latter stages of his career; as the Greeks are surely aware, the aging curves are not kind to a warrior of his profile. Whether they might attempt to transition Hector into a less physically taxing position is unclear.
Meanwhile, with the unexpected loss of Sarpedon, the Trojans now face a power shortage that could thwart their defense of the league crown. Despite Achilles’ streaky performance and often difficult personality, his sword would provide an instant boost to the Trojan offense — and Trojan management is no doubt banking on the troubled Myrmidon’s ability to thrive in the more structured environment behind their own walls. Achilles is just entering his physical prime, and since the death of Patroclus has been playing like a man possessed. The main caveat that Troy will be weighing, of course, is his balky foot, which could prove a liability if opponents learn to target it.
The well-known mutual animosity between the two teams, who have been wrestling for control of the Aegean for the better part of the past decade, would only add to the drama surrounding such a deal. Would Hector be able to handle the 24-7 scrutiny of the media circus in Mycenae? Would Achilles wilt under the sky-high expectations that would surely be placed on his shoulders in an environment like Troy? Would both men be able to set aside years of resentment in order to don each other’s uniform?
According to sources, the two sides are currently at loggerheads over the details of the trade, with the Greeks holding out for a prospect or two to sweeten the deal; among the names that have been floated is that of the young speedster Polydorus. It’s also worth noting that Achilles’ agent, the bright-eyed goddess Athena, is famously protective of her clients and may be pushing for contractual modifications. Meanwhile, one insider speculates that talks may break down over the two teams’ reluctance to share information, with divine prophecies proving to be a crucial sticking point. In any case, this is far from a done deal — but rest assured that we, and the rest of the Bronze Age world, will be following it with bated breath.
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