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January 31, 2011

The Week in Quotes

January 24-30

by Alex Carnevale

THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR OF BRIAN CASHMAN CONTINUES

"I keep reading about dissension and discord. We are a well-functioning company. The bosses have a decision to make. Sometimes people don't agree with those decisions. So I told him, 'You are always honest with the media, be honest now. Tell them what you have to tell them.' I was already onto the next decision. I told him, 'You and I are fine. Answer in any way you want.' We are not always going to be on the same page. It is my job to think what is best for the family, partners, and company."
–Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, on what he told general manager Brian Cashman before the press conference to announce the signing of Rafael Soriano.

"Tell me where we are screwing up on the baseball operations side. I need a starting pitcher, but is the future strong because we have a farm system acknowledged in the industry to be one of the best? Check. Am I getting our payroll down, as charged by ownership? Check. Do we have success on the field? Check. What's the problem? Why are people bitching so much? That's my question. That's my frustration."
Brian Cashman, on the backlash to his comments.

"I value his opinion and his advice. That does not mean I am always going to go with that advice and all of my VPs know that I might go a different way. There are no hard feelings between Cash and I. There never was. Reasonable men can differ in opinions."
Steinbrenner

"Really, there are no problems at all. Brian calls me on my cell phone more often than I would even like. He and I talk on a daily basis, multiple times. There is not much that he does without consulting me first. This has been a very good relationship."
Steinbrenner (Joel Sherman, New York Post)

THE NEXT ZING YOU HEAR MAY BE YOUR LAST

"If that day ever did come, basically I thought that he was more athletically looking at transition to the outfield. That was it. It was just a baseball chat. But then somebody sits there in the back with a twitter and sends a zing, and it's got everybody in a tizzy. We have no intention of moving Derek at this point, and we're not talking about moving Derek at this point."
Brian Cashman, clarifying comments he made about Derek Jeter moving to the outfield.

"When you do the text messaging, sometimes you can misunderstand somebody and they're texting back and forth to you. You impose a certain emotional attachment to a certain word, or you misunderstand it, and by the time you're on the phone you get a clarification. When you do twitter, you lose a lot of context of things that are taking place."
Cashman, on the reporting of ESPNW contributor Amanda Rykoff at a breakfast hosted by WFAN's Mike Francesa.

"It's not like he's preventing me from doing something. It's a pretty bad market out there. It's not like the inventory I have to choose from after waiting as long as I did on Cliff Lee is great. It's the opposite."
Cashman, on Andy Pettitte's situation. (Michael Kay, ESPN.com)

CLIFF LEE LEAVES BEHIND MANY HURT FEELINGS

"Even though Philadelphia was probably not in, they were always in the back of our mind(s). I think if we wouldn't have gone to Arkansas that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees. We pried the door open a little bit to give ourselves another opportunity. And ultimately the Phillies were able to take advantage of that opportunity that we created."
–Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg, looking back at the Cliff Lee negotiations.

"He has been running the Rangers for a few minutes and seems to believe he's mastered what everyone else is thinking. I think he should let Cliff Lee speak for himself. I'll be impressed when he demonstrates he can keep the Rangers off welfare. What I mean is make them not be a revenue-sharing recipient for three years in a row, without taking financing from baseball or advance money from television networks. Then I'll be impressed."
–Yankees president Randy Levine, on the idea he lost out on Cliff Lee because of the Rangers.

"While we would have preferred that he would have chosen to go with us, we're real pleased that he's going to the other league."
Greenberg (Dallas Morning News)

JUST HAND CONTROL OVER TO RANDY LEVINE AND BE DONE WITH IT

"I don't say that we won't take on a partner, but there are other options that we will explore. It could be a partner; it could be some other mechanism to recapitalize a bit."
–Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, on a conference call concerning the Mets' plan to sell part of the team.

"The proposition we're putting forward today is exactly the proposition that one might put forward if one were actually acquiring the team today. And you go to those minority investors, whether they have $25 million or $50 million or $100 million that they're going to put in. And you offer them the same kind of limited-partnership interest that every other club owner is offering their limited partners when they make acquisitions today. There's a wide range of precedents for this across sports. So it's not really that unusual. What's a little unusual is that we're doing it after we've already owned the team."
Steve Greenberg, managing partner of Allen & Company and advisor to the Wilpons.

"It's in the economic interest in what we believe is a fantastic Major League Baseball franchise in the largest city in the United States. So let's not lose sight of that. It's the economic interest alongside Fred and Saul and Jeff and Sterling in the New York Mets going forward into the future. We believe that future is bright. So I think that's what's going to catch people's attention first and foremost. It's not whether you get to go to spring training and shake hands with the manager, as much fun as that may be. It's really about the economic ownership of the team."
Greenberg (Andy McCullough, The Star-Ledger)

HOPEFULLY HE'LL BE LUCID BY PITCHERS AND CATCHERS

"If you look at the deal as somewhere around $70 million, you're looking at a $17-plus million deal, on a four-year average. That's a lot more tolerable than $142 million."
–Angels owner Arte Moreno, on the Vernon Wells trade.

"It's not like you're going to have to pay a higher price."
Moreno, on raising ticket prices if the Angels had signed Carl Crawford.

"If we win, if we get to the playoffs, then we managed it right. If, next year, we're sitting home in October, then we didn't get it done."
Moreno. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

HE'S COMMITTED TO POSTING A 600 OPS HERE IN SEATTLE

"A lot of things were tied into Chone's year last year. It was his first big contract, there was switching organizations, switching positions, batting in a different spot in the batting order. That's a lot. He got more comfortable the last two months. I think he was the player we thought he was going to be."
–Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, on the performance of Chone Figgins in his first year with the Mariners.

"I talked to him and let him know how things like this get started. People hear things and pretty soon they start adding two and two together and getting five. Our plan is to open the season with Chone as our third baseman. What he said to me is that 'I want to win, I want to be here in Seattle, I've always loved playing in this ballpark. I want us to put together a club as we move forward that continues to compete. I'm here to play for Seattle, I'm here to win, and I want to be part of this thing as we move forward.' I appreciate him saying that."
Zduriencik

"I always said, it's a great thing to be wanted. But I want to win here. I've said all along, this has been one of the best places I've ever played -- the city, the fans. I'll always love playing here. This is where I want to be, and until they force me out of here, this is where I'm going to be."
–Mariners infielder Chone Figgins (Larry Stone, Seattle Times)

THE NEW MINORITY PARTNER OF THE METS, GIL MECHE

"When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it. Once I started to realize I wasn't earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn't feel like I deserved it. I didn't want to have those feelings again."
–Former Royals starter Gil Meche, on retiring before the last year of his contract.

"In no way is it assumed that at the end of a deal a guy is expected to walk away if he can’t play. It's just so odd and so rare. There was no way that we would have ever had a conversation like, 'Hey, Mo, listen, you're not able to play, so you should retire.'"
–Former Mets general manager Jim Duquette.

"This isn't about being a hero. That's not even close to what it's about. It's just me getting back to a point in my life where I'm comfortable. Making that amount of money from a team that's already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids, it just wasn't the right thing to do."
Meche (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)

THE REST

"It won't necessarily affect us that much, because we work a lot on bunting, hit-and-run, and moving runners over, and those types of things. I do like a little bit of the power game in college baseball. I like the excitement of the home run, and I hope it doesn't take too much of that away. The toughest part of the whole situation was that we weren't really involved in the changeover or the decision-making process, so it was kind of thrown at us, and we're going to have to make an adjustment. Everyone will have to make the same adjustment."
–Clemson baseball head coach Jack Leggett, on the new rules about which bats can be used in college baseball. (Gene Sapakoff, The Post and Courier)

"If he hits .320 last year, I'm not changing one thing. In Derek's case, he hit an all-time low, and this is something he felt the need to do. It's hard for me as a hitting coach to say that I did a good job with Jete last year. I look at it like I failed him. He's on a mission, like he said, and so am I to get him back to where he needs to be."
–Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, on re-working Derek Jeter's swing. (Ben Shpigel, The New York Times)

"A lot of people inside our organization and a lot of people outside were against signing Rolen. We gave him a lot of money. I'm proud to say I support that move. If an alien dropped down from Mars and asked what a baseball player is, I'd tell him, 'Watch Scott Rolen.'"
–Reds assistant general manager Bill Bavasi (Hal McCoy, Dayton Daily News)

"I felt like if they didn't re-sign Cliff Lee that they were going to be an average team and I feel that's probably what's going to end up happening. It's all about your pitching. I feel like last year was one of those special years where you kind of catch lightning in a bottle and they got hot and they had some guys that I felt like were pitching better than their talent level and consequently they had a great year. ... They were itching to spend some money. I probably could have gotten the best deal out of them, especially in light of what they gave Adrian Beltre, which I think is pretty much of a reach for him."
–Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, on the Texas Rangers. (Richard Durrett, ESPN.com)

"I understand. He was one of my favorite players growing up, and he's someone that I admire."
–Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, asked about the idea of signing Vladimir Guerrero at a State of the Franchise event on Thursday. (Ben Nicholson-Smith, MLB Trade Rumors)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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