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November 18, 2013
The Week in Quotes
PADRES CATCHING PROSPECT AUSTIN HEDGES TURNING HEADS
“To me, one of his greatest strengths is he can do a lot of things in small spaces. You've got to move your feet in small spaces. Those are things learned over time, but he has this natural timing to how he catches. For me, it's how he's able to stay calm and under control but also work quickly in small spaces.”
“It's his aptitude for the game … he sees things in the game at 20 and 21 that most people don't see until they're 25 or 26. It's happened because he's, for lack of a better term, a baseball rat. He's trying to work his pitchers through seven, eight, nine innings. He's got an understanding of what's important in the big picture.”
“I think that he embraced the position from an early age. And he's a very good athlete. No matter what position that you play … athleticism is critical. He's got good reactions. That's why he's so good at blocking. He can read the ball, anticipate it.”
“When a guy shakes me off, I want to be able to communicate to him and get him to trust me … I think the best advice I've gotten so far is that the wrong pitch with conviction is better than the right pitch without conviction. I always try to think of that. If the pitcher knows his slider is good, then you throw it the best you can. That's always better than, say, a mediocre fastball.”
“I hate to anoint a Minor League player anything prior to his time, but there's no reason why he can't play in the big leagues for a long time.”
KERSHAW, SCHERZER EARN CY YOUNG AWARDS
“Whether you expect to win or you don't, just to hear your name called -- it does something to you. I'm not big on individual stats or awards or anything like that, because ultimately I think we play this game to win a World Series. No ifs, ands or buts about that. That's the goal. But any time that you get associated with this award, and you get to be a part of some of the names that come along with the Cy Young Award, it really is pretty special. I definitely don't take that for granted."
“That's the last thing I would worry about, whether it's something he could handle. He's a special pitcher. He's a special kid ... This is the second of many more to come. He's got quite a future ahead of him.”
“To actually be named, it is unbelievable. It vindicates everything I've done. I can't say thank you enough to all my teammates for busting their butts every single day and fighting on defense and getting extra runs for me. I think that really helped my candidacy."
“It doesn’t affect this moment at all. This is a celebration of what I was able to accomplish and what we were able to accomplish as a team.”
“I'm really happy for Max. He had a great season and deserves the Cy Young. I'm hoping this time next year we can say there were three Cy Young winners in the rotation."
OFFSEASON RUMOR MILL
“He’s ready for this to go past Christmas, into January if necessary. He’s been told all along that it could take time for a market to develop for him, and he’s fine with that.”
“Our focus is on improving our ballclub and we'd like to improve our ballclub by improving our pitching in particular. We could use an outfielder and we could use some help at DH from the left side. That's where our focus is. We're continuing to make progress. We've talked to some agents. We've made some offers to some pitchers and hopefully that will bear some fruit.”
“I don’t think (we need more than one). I like our internal options a great deal. (Danny) Duffy is going to be a lot better. (Yordano) Ventura has a chance to be dynamic. (Kyle) Zimmer is close… Hoch (Luke Hochevar), Wade Davis and Will Smith can all start and, I think, will have better years going forward in the rotation. We also know those guys can perform very well in the bullpen, too. So I think we have enough depth.”
“It’s truly Paul’s option. He’s earned the right to come back if he wants to come back. He’s been the most popular player in the last 15 years that we’ve had. He’s only had a handful of at-bats in a Cincinnati uniform, so he’s basically a White Sox lifer. He’s a terrific teammate. He’s our captain. He just has to make a decision whether he wants to come back or not.”
—Baseball players in the offseason
“Let them fight it out. We like both of them a lot. I love the competition in Spring Training. Patrick Corbin emerged last year. We didn't say anyone was the frontrunner. He took the bull by the horns. I want C.O. and Didi to be in the same situation. Just because Didi was there all year, I don't want him to think he's the everyday shortstop.”
“It’s a double-edged sword. Someone looking to win a World Series title next year may not think about the Astros as the first place to go sign. But having said that, we also have an opportunity. Jose Veras signed with us (last year) because he could be the closer. As of right now, we’re going into next year with that role in competition. There’s a lot of other clubs that don’t have that. You can be a starter in our rotation, potentially be an everyday outfielder on our club. You can be the guy.”
“The difference to me is that the people who are running baseball teams are really smart now. The group each year gets smarter and smarter. That's the challenge. The other thing is there has been a lot of continuity in these [baseball-operation] positions. There hasn't been as much turnover. As a result, the guys who have had an opportunity to grow in their positions have become very, very good. It's not just the GM. There are a lot of smart front offices that are layered much deeper than they were when I first came in.”
“When we signed him to an extension, we considered him as a catcher, and those numbers he was able to get in the extension were based on him being a catcher. (Catching) is his passion, and that's where we need him to be at long term.”
“We have three guys at the major league level and two guys at Double-A [Odor and Sardinas]; it would be irresponsible not to consider it. Will we ultimately make a deal? I really don’t know. Teams are getting the lay of the land, see what’s out there and make a decision.”
“One of the greatest lines he ever said to me, we were talking in the outfield and his line was, ‘I just made $800,000 just talking to you for this five minutes sitting out here. How does that make you feel?’”
"It's just really something for the fans of the Tampa Bay area. They need a new ballpark, they need to address that. Certainly the bell's been answered by the organization as far as putting a product on the field that would normally attract fans."
“At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them. Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap."
“Given that we are going from 19 seating categories with 19 price points to 19 categories with 95 price points, we understand it may take a while for our fans to adjust. That said, all 29 other MLB clubs have some form of variable or dynamic pricing and their fans quickly adjusted to a higher price for high demand games and a lower price for games with less demand.”
“I don't know he's going to play himself off that position. We are counting on him to be that guy. We will continue to work it. He played second base three or four times. He's getting exposed to that part of it too. But he's getting his at-bats and bulk of innings at shortstop.”
Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus.