December 17, 2012
The Week in Quotes
TEXAS, YOU SHOULD’VE PUT A RING ON IT
“I'm so excited and happy to hear an organization say we're so excited and happy we got you no matter what the risk is. They're going to help me—with my support system, as well—put things in place like I have with the Rangers. Nothing out of the ordinary; nothing that's straining to the organization or our clubhouse. So, I'm excited to be here—excited to be with people who want me to be here.”
—New Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, who signed with Anaheim for five years, $125 million. The Angels were late arrivals to the Hamilton sweepstakes, taking a key player from the division rival Rangers. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“We went in knowing who he was as a player, because everybody knows who he is as a player, and we were trying to get to know him as a person. We walked away just overly impressed with him.”
—Angels president John Carpino, after a four-hour meeting with Hamilton.
“Of course I was surprised. They like to get after it; they like to get things done.”
—Hamilton. The Angels added a fifth year that ultimately attracted Hamilton, when other teams were still formulating offers.
“I mean, I gave them everything I had for five years. So I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't bother you a little bit, that they didn't put the press on. My wife explained it very eloquently.”
—Hamilton, on leaving the Rangers behind. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
“My take on it was that we were with them for five years. If you're going to date somebody and that's going to be your man or your woman, then you make it official and make it known pretty quick, or at some point, that you want to be with them. They let us date other teams [at the Winter Meetings] and Josh said that's it, that he'd give them the first chance. They didn't take him up on that. They let us go out and date people and kind of give our hearts away.”
—Wife Katie Hamilton, with the timely metaphor.
"[Katie] said, 'You should've put a ring on it.'"
ZACK GREINKE: PITCHER, SCIENTIST, DODGER
“I don't know how many free agents I have spoken to, and I can't remember one who didn't bring an agent with him, friend,s or representatives. Three hours with Zack. It was impressive. He was stunning. When he left that day, we all said: 'We've got to figure out a way to get this kid here.' Because he's sharp, because he's about so much more than just the pitching. It was probably the best free-agent meeting I've had in decades of doing this. It was just pure.”
—Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, on signing the prize of the free-agent class for six years, $147 million. Greinke had visited Dodger Stadium on his own, without his agent, more than a week prior to signing. (Mike Bauman, MLB.com)
“[The Angels] kept in contact the whole time, from when I first got there to right when the season was over and right when the World Series was over. When the details came, they never really got into it too much. But my wife and I loved it there. Great place.”
—Greinke, on the inclinations of the Angels, his previous employer. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“He is a scientist as a pitcher. I think he might remember every pitch he's ever thrown to anyone and in what sequence.”
—Dodgers president Stan Kasten’s favorable impressions on their new ace. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
“I don't want to make his head too big, but I thought Stan Kasten was like the smartest guy I've ever talked to. With him in charge, I thought they had a good chance to keep things going good.”
—The graciously reciprocating Greinke.
“It was one negative for Texas, but it’s not the only thing that made a decision. It’s my natural way of pitching to throw four-seamers and just throw it, instead of focusing so hard on keeping the ball down and making it sink.”
—Greinke, on his decision to eliminate Texas from his choices. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
INDIANS NET BAUER, STUBBS IN THREE-WAY SWAP
“We think the four players we've acquired will not only impact the 2013 season at the major-league level, but will impact us for years to come.”
—Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, who brokered a substantial three-way trade with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“He's a young pitcher with a ton of potential. He has a chance to pitch at the top of the rotation. He went through the minors league quickly and still has some developing to do, but we expect him to impact our team in 2013 whether it's at beginning of the season and during it.”
—Antonetti, on his prized acquisition Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 entry draft who averaged 11.54 K/9 over 156 minor-league innings from 2011-2012.
“If the fastball command is there with the repertoire of pitches that he has, there is no doubt in my mind he is going to be a successful major-league pitcher.”
—Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, who didn’t hesitate to give Bauer his vote of confidence.
YOUKILIS PULLS A DAMON, SIGNS WITH YANKS
“It was a little bit of a surprise with all the teams calling. They popped out of nowhere. I never thought I’d see the other side of the rivalry. We felt the Yankees were the best fit to try to win a World Series.”
—Former Fenway favorite Kevin Youkilis, who effectively ostracized himself in Massachusetts after signing a one-year, $12-million contract with the New York Yankees on Tuesday. (Jorge Arangure Jr., New York Times)
“This offseason, I didn’t get an offer from the Red Sox, or pursued by the Red Sox. You can’t turn down offers because of a baseball rivalry.”
“He will be fine. Especially since Boston traded him. Now he realizes it’s a business and you have to take care of yourself.’’
—Johnny Damon, all too familiar with the awkwardness that will ensue for Youkilis. (George A. King III, New York Post)
“[Youkilis] will fit in well. The Red Sox traded him thinking they would be better with [Will] Middlebrooks. It would be different if the Red Sox offered him a deal. It’s a good move for the Yankees and Kevin Youkilis.’’
“We all know he is a pain in the butt to pitch against. He will be a great sub for A-Rod and can sub for Mark Teixeira at first. It’s a good sign.’’
DICKEY GOING TO BLUE JAYS IN PROPOSED TRADE
“You want what you think is fair, and ... I feel like we're asking for less than what's fair. There is a surprise sometimes when things don't get done quickly and you already think that you're extending the olive branch. At the same time, they have a budget they have to adhere to and that's part of it, too. I don't know those numbers, and I try not to take it personally.”
—Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who spoke to reporters early last week at a Citi Field holiday party about his contract negotiations with the Mets. Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that now the Blue Jays are talking to Dickey about a contract extension, as the two teams agreed to a trade. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)
“We're in a similar place today that we were last week. Some of the surrounding circumstances have changed somewhat, so I would hope that we'll have more clarity within a few days. But in the meantime, we're more or less status quo.”
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson
“Things are emotional for me. I think when people say, 'It's business; it's not personal,' well, that just means it's not personal for them. It can be personal for me. I'm hoping that it's going to end up in a good place, but you can't help but think in the back of your mind that it may not. And that's sad.”
“It would be unfortunate, because it probably is going to mean I'm not going to be back. And that would be sad.”
—Dickey on the possibility of pitching for the Mets in 2013 without a contract extension.
“That's not the company line—I really feel a real connection to this place. But at the same time, you don't want to be taken advantage of.”
PIRATES CEASE NAVY-STYLE TRAINING IN MINORS
“130 collegiate and Olympic teams have gained valuable insight, gained valuable experience from the Navy SEALS. We're not alone in our belief that these techniques work. As a matter of fact, these are the scientifically proven techniques that help young men grow, that help young men develop.”
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on a minor-league training program modeled after the SEALs. The program will be discontinued, according to Pirates owner Bob Nutting. (Bob Cohn, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
“So if borrowing from the elite of the elites is a bad thing, I‘m puzzled by that.”
—Huntington, after explaining that the Pirates are committed “to the best physical, best mental, best personal development we can get.”
“We'll never apologize for any affiliation with the United Stated military in our mental conditioning. … That said, we don't actually have SEALs people involved, just some of their techniques that have been used with overwhelming success by numerous industries and athletic teams. We're teaching Minor Leaguers how to push through the grind, and somehow that's a bad thing? We want the next generation of Pittsburgh Pirates to be able to get through a 162-game season and bring the championship that you deserve back to this city.”
—Pirates president Frank Coonelly (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
—Royals GM Dayton Moore defended his decision to trade prospects (notably Wil Myers) for James Shields and Wade Davis. (Peter Gammons, @pgammo, MLB.com)
—Adrian Gonzalez remembered mid-sentence how loaded his team is, given the acquisitions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, and Skip Schumaker. (Dylan Hernandez, @dylanohernandez, LA Times)
—Hamilton was probably only noting the change from Devil to Angel, but his past troubles and transgressions along with his current sobriety make for a much cooler metaphor. (Marc Topkin, @TBTimes_Rays, Tampa Bay Times)
“He fills the one big void that we had, and that was a leadoff hitter and someone with the ability to get on base from the top of the order. It's an area of our club that has been lacking the last few years. … We think he's a great athlete, and he still runs well from side to side, and we think that in our ballpark, he'll do fine in center field. … It works well into our long-range plan. We have Choo for this year, and we'll see what happens. We know that [Billy] Hamilton should be ready by  to play center field and hit leadoff.”
—Reds general manager Walt Jocketty on acquiring outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians. (Zack Meisel, MLB.com)
“The only comment I will make is the comment I have made before: Contracts are meant to be honored. The 2005 Settlement Agreement, which sophisticated parties signed, including the Nationals and Major League Baseball, provided in clear and certain terms the formula to be applied to determine the fair market value of the rights fees for the clubs. That formula is tried and true, and fair and equitable. We have every reason to expect that it will be enforced and effectuated.”
—Orioles club counsel Alan Rifkin, following a Washington Post report that the television rights for Baltimore and the Nationals could be up for sale. MASN, which is controlled by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, currently owns those rights. The Nationals are seeking a larger share in the network's profits. (Peter Schmuck, The Baltimore Sun)
“I signed a long-term extension [last April] to win a championship here and if they think me at first is going to help win a championship, I’m all for it.”
—Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler. The team is considering moving him to first base. (Drew Davison, Star-Telegram.com)
“I told Jack when I came here, this wasn't a platform spot for me. I'm not picking a spot to try to boost value for next year. This is somewhere where I feel like I can still play, there's a good fit for me here and I'm looking forward to it.”
—Jason Bay, on joining the Mariners. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)
Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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