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February 21, 2011

The Week in Quotes

February 14-20

by Alex Carnevale

DEATH FROM ABOVE, MICHAEL WEINER STYLE

"I know what he's going through with the union and to some extent his representatives, because his representatives are getting beat up by the union. Set the bar, set the bar. You've got to deal with it. It's not the way it should be... Albert is very smart, very strong, and is going to make a really good decision. I know that he's getting pressured, and it's not arm twisting, it's dropping anvils on your back through the roof of your house."
–Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, on his view that Albert Pujols rejected the team's latest contract offer because of pressure from the MLBPA.

"This process was something we thought long and hard about. It's not something we just jumped into without understanding the ramifications to our organization... to how it would impact us not only in the short term but also the long term."
–Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on the team's willingness to let Albert Pujols test free agency after the season.

"I don't think we want to quantify how close or far apart we were."
–Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., on the team's offer.

"We felt very good about the offer we made and we felt that it recognized his iconic status, and it also still allowed us to put a successful club out there. We made every effort to try to get a deal done."
Mozeliak

"I think it's unfortunate whenever it happens, not just Albert, it should just be about looking at everything to determine what's your best deal. There's enough money, nobody is going to suffer. The union is not going to suffer. The bar is not going to suffer."
La Russa (Associated Press)

ONE WAY TO MAKE SURE YOUR LEGS ARE FRESH FOR OCTOBER

"I think anytime you deal with alcoholism and addiction—and I've been dealing with this for a long time in my career—you realize it's an ongoing battle. It's not easy. What sets somebody off at a certain time to take a drink, I'm not wise enough to know that. But it happens. You need to make sure the player or the person continues to follow the program."
–Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, on the arrest of Miguel Cabrera for suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting arrest.

"He's a wonderful kid. He's a great kid, he's got a great face, he's a handsome kid, he's a talented kid, he's got a great personality. He has an issue that has to be dealt with, period. I can promise you I will be there for him, as I would be any of our other players. That's the way we work around here."
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland

"He's cooperative, and realizes he's had an alcohol problem in the past that he's addressed and he's worked through, and he fell off of that program. He acknowledges that and will do what's necessary to get back on track. But I will also say he's extremely down. He wants to be here. He feels terrible that something happened and he's not here."
Dombrowski

"We are family. We support family. We don't make light of it. But like I said, people smarter than me handle those situations. There are steps that need to be taken, as Dave said, and I'm not part of those steps."
Leyland (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)

SURPRISE, ARIZONA MAY BE WARM BUT IT'S NO LONGER FUZZY

"The general manager is not in here with us. He doesn't play. It's his job to put a team together that he thinks is going to win. But it comes down to us. Just because he is not talking to the general manager doesn't mean we're not going to win, or that this thing is going to fall apart. It's about what goes on between the lines."
–Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, on Michael Young's demand for a trade.

"I would love to have him here, let's put it that way. He's having to deal with it, unfortunately, publicly. It creates all kinds of problems. It's been handled poorly on their end, I'll say that."
–Angels left fielder Vernon Wells, of his friend Young's offseason.

"We look at it right now, and we've got probably 11 guys that you'd consider as first-division, championship-quality players. We think our depth and versatility are going to help us. We were looking to add to that, guys that were willing specifically to come in and complement the group we had in place already."
–Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on why he wanted to trade Young.

"When I look back on it, I probably could have done a better job of communicating with Michael, knowing from a player's standpoint how it feels. We were a victim of circumstances at times. Nowadays, with communications like they are and all the agents involved, we're dealing with a different situation than we were 10 years ago or 15 years ago. I probably should have communicated more, and that probably would have helped."
–Rangers president Nolan Ryan

"I'd love to walk in and hug everybody every day, but that's not critical to us winning."
Daniels (Gil LeBreton, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

WHO NEEDS LEBRON WHEN YOU HAVE LYLE OVERBAY?

"We want to win championships and build a championship-caliber organization. Eighty-one wins will never be a goal. I said that three years ago. If it's a step in the process, I guess so be it. Major League Baseball turnarounds don't happen overnight. It's not the NBA where a LeBron James can come in and he makes you a great team. Baseball takes a lot of very good players to develop, and we are in the process of developing a lot of good young players and have added some veterans."
–Pirates general manager Neal Huntington

"Trying hard is not good enough. This is a doing league, and it's time for us to start doing."
–Pirates president Frank Coonelly

"Money gives you a larger margin for error, and it makes mistakes easier to accept. The teams who have had success in the small to medium-sized markets provide a model. You have to make good business decisions, and you can't get emotionally attached to any player or any situation. But it is very feasible and very doable as the last handful of seasons has shown. In 2007, three of the final four teams were in the bottom ten in payroll. It's a challenge and a struggle, but we've got to learn from those who came before us. Money makes it a little easier, but that's about it. It doesn't mean its going to happen. It's a game of human beings and human beings don't always function consistently or as expected and that is what makes it so much fun and challenging."
Huntington

"He is under contract. Our expectations are that Neal will be here for a long time. He has not been extended at this moment. We'll continue to evaluate it."
Coonelly, on Huntington's future with the organization. (Alan Dell, Bradenton Herald)

HE DIDN'T JUST HAVE $142 MILLION, HE WAS ALSO BRILLIANT

I'll say this, very early in the process, I had some skepticism. I thought it was more likely than not that even if we were very competitive, that we wouldn't land him. We heard some things just anecdotally that perhaps he didn't want to go to Boston. Perhaps he's already dead set an Anaheim Angel. The more we dug on him, and we covered him as if we were privately investigating him. We had a scout on him literally the last three, four months of the season at the ballpark, away from the ballpark."
–Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on how the team's signing of Carl Crawford came together.

"We stumbled into it. We took the approach that we were going to be the kind of good guy team that was always open to talk. 'Let's get to know each other. When you want to talk numbers, here's an offer. It's not a final offer. Here are some things we're flexible with.' Just kind of be the good, accessible partner."
Epstein

"It seems like the Angels gave him a deadline before the Cliff Lee negotiations reached their conclusion, and that played right into our hands. We had spent so much time thinking about it. We had ownership on board. We had to get a hold of them in England, but they moved very nimbly and we were able to wrap it up in a matter of hours when it all came together. We thought it was kind of dormant and we were just going to stay in touch, and five hours later, it was done."
Epstein (Dennis & Callahan, WEEI.com)

THE REST

"The game is constantly changing, and what you want to do is maximize where you're choosing. For us, there have been some younger players—high school players—who have seemed like the better value. I don't know if it's necessarily a philosophical difference, but maybe it's just trying to take advantage of what was there."
–Athletics general manager Billy Beane, on his approach to the amateur draft. (Monte Poole, San Jose Mercury-News)

"I'd have a bad game in Charleston and I'd say, 'I need to do something to get better,' then I'd go to the weight room. That was probably the worst thing I could have done for myself. That was a basketball mentality. It doesn't really matter how much I weigh as long as I can throw the ball."
–Yankees starter Andrew Brackman, on his development as a pitcher. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

"I hate to see him be beat up this way. I don't know a kinder, more generous, more compassionate human being than Fred. I think if Fred knew it was going to be a bad investment, he never would have told me, 'Put money in it.'"
–Former Dodgers starter and Madoff victim Sandy Koufax, on criticism of Mets owner Fred Wilpon. (Mike Puma, New York Post)

"From a scouting standpoint, we absolutely believe in the player, believe in the swing changes, believe in the tools. His eye at the plate is going to allow him to age well and remain a productive player; and then there's his conditioning, the way he takes care of himself and his body. Roy Halladay cared about winning and I'd say Jose is right there. It's an intense will to win that's maybe a little more vocal, a little more extroverted, something I haven't seen since I've been here. It's not to take away from other players but it's at a different level than I've seen in the past... If we don't have this player, then we're looking for a player like this."
–Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, on signing Jose Bautista to a five-year contract worth $65 million. (Ken Fidlin, Toronto Sun)

"I have more work to get accomplished. They've accomplished all of their roster goals. I have yet to accomplish all of my roster goals. If this were a horse race, they would have the inside lane as the race starts. They'd have the pole position. Doesn't mean you win the race."
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on competing with the Red Sox. (Chad Jennings, The Journal News)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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