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December 26, 2013

The Week in Quotes

December 16-25

by Morris Greenberg, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller


PLAYERS REMINISCE ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS

“That year, I opened up a pool stick, and I was like, ‘This is cool.’ Then I opened up the next present, and they were billiards balls. The next present was chalk, and I was like, 'Wait a second.' So I started putting two and two together, and my parents said, 'Why don't you go look downstairs?' I ran downstairs and there was a pool table built. I don't know how they pulled it off.”
—Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, recalling a Christmas present he received when he was about 10 years old. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

“I've never had one, so I don't know if I'm going to love it or hate it. It's going to be a brand new experience. I spent New Years up there last year, but was home for the holidays. Normally I'm used to close to 75 degrees and sunny and being able to do whatever you want. I'm looking forward to it, though, might have to build a snowman or something like that.”
—Blue Jays reliever and California native Casey Janssen, on spending his first White Christmas in Canada. (Gregor Chrisholm, MLB.com)

“Once we got that thing stacked up and all of the lights and ornaments on it, he started gravitating to it. But he's a boy. So he's obviously pretty curious. He's starting to walk now. So he'll go from the coffee table and start walking to the Christmas tree. He stops, gets on his knees and just throws up his arms. He's really excited, but he won't touch the tree.”
—Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, on his first Christmas with his 10-month old son, Max. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“He's in a mode that no matter what you get him, he just ends up playing with the box anyways. But that's what I love about the holidays—giving gifts to people.”
—Medlen.

“I always wanted gifts, and my mom couldn't give us much, because I had three siblings and we didn't have much money. We'd get those little green army men, because we could go up to the dollar store and get those for a dollar. We might get a couple other things. My favorite was a remote control car, because my uncle would buy it. We were so excited, we'd always break it within 24 hours because we played with it every minute.”
—Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, recalling what Christmas was like for him. (Jason Beck, MLB.com)

“You can give gifts of material things, but giving your time and your effort is good too, going to homes and just visiting and smiling and talking to people. Those are great gifts when you're doing that, not just little green men or a remote control car. When you're visiting people or opening the door for someone at the mall, it's a great gift, or saying, 'You look nice today.' If you can lift somebody's day, that's a gift.”
—Hunter.

NEW POSTING SYSTEM, AND MASAHIRO TANAKA

I’m grateful to the team for allowing me to try. Now I’ve made a first step. I hope I would receive offers from as many teams as possible so I have a wider option.
Masahiro Tanaka, on his plans for playing in the MLB. (ESPN.com)

Evaluating Tanaka's contributions in the seven years since joining the franchise, owner Hiroshi Mikitani accepted his wish to challenge himself in the major leagues and decided to petition for him to be posted.”
—Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana. (Dylan Hernandez, The Los Angeles Times)

The JPBPA never regarded the old-posting system, nor the new agreement, as proper. The JPBPA thinks the current system is like an auction in which players are treated as if they’re products. The reason why this system exists is Japanese players are required to wait up to nine years to qualify for overseas free agency. We say that’s too long.”
—JPBPA executive director Toru Matsubara, as part of a statement released on the union’s website. (The Japan Times)

“If you’re going to go hard after someone over there, that’s the guy to go hard after.”
—A rival executive of the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers figure to be one of the top suitors for Tanaka. (Andy McCullough, The Star-Ledger)

HOT STOVE

I got offered a couple contract extensions, but they weren’t the best deal we were looking for. That’s the way it kind of played out so far. A lot of people get the impression I’m trying to break the bank and get a boatload of money. I want a fair deal. I don’t want something team-friendly. I want to get paid my value.
—Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, on negotiating a contract extension before he reaches free agency (Adam Kilgore and James Wagner, The Washington Post)

“The first time, it was way different, just because I was so young and I really didn't know what was going on. It took me a long while to realize that it's not that the Angels didn't want me, it's that the Royals wanted me more. Once I figured that part out, being traded was not that big of a deal. So this time around was way easier. I knew what to expect and I knew all that goes with it.”
—Lefty pitcher Will Smith, on being traded from the Royals to the Brewers (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)

We saw last year by having that third catcher it gave Fredi the flexibility to use two of our very best pinch hitters in the game and two of our very best pinch hitters are (Evan) Gattis and (Gerald) Laird. And by having that third catcher you can utilize all three of them.
—Braves general manager Frank Wren, on trading for Twins catcher Ryan Doumit (Carroll Rogers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The whole time that I was going through this process, I think in the back of my mind I was really hoping to get a chance back in the big leagues. I wasn't going to take just any situation; I had to feel like it was going to be a good fit for myself and for the organization as well. The situation I found myself in, I couldn't have asked for a better one.
Casey McGehee, on signing a one year deal with the Miami Marlins after playing the 2013 season in Japan (Joey Nowak, MLB.com)

GENERAL MANAGERS EVALUATE THEIR ROSTERS

We've had great support with our fans. They've been very supportive of our players. But I think it's important for people to understand: Ryan Howard does still live. He exists. He's part of our club, OK? And he is one of the most important parts of our club. Guys like Ben Revere still exist. He does live. These are people who are on our club. So we have to hope they come and play to the level that we expect them to play.
—Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., on the current state of his club’s roster (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

When you look back sort of at our end-of-the-year meeting when we were first sitting down, obviously we made it pretty clear that we felt we needed to improve at short, try to get an upgrade in center from a defensive standpoint, and also, if we could, add depth to that bench that could have a practical use. We were able to do that. As we look back over the last six weeks, we feel like we were able to improve this club. A lot of times that's not easy to do when you've had the type of year that we've had. But we feel pretty good about moving forward.
—Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, commenting on his team’s offseason (Jennifer Langosch, MLB.com)

ATHLETICS' NEW STADIUM OPTIONS

It’s one of the two sites we promised Major League Baseball we would offer, and it will be available early next year… Trust me, Oakland is hot now, and a lot of developers would love that (waterfront) site if it doesn't become a baseball stadium.”
—Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on allowing Oakland to build a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland (Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, SFGate.com)

It would be easier to build on Treasure Island…All I care about is getting a new home for the A's in the best possible circumstances - and under any circumstances, Howard Terminal would be as close to impossible as anything.
—A’s partial owner Lew Wolff, on the unlikelihood of a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland (Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, SFGate.com)

It may get an 'A' in artist renderings, but it's an 'F' in implementation. We know that we can't do a ballpark on that site.
—A’s partial owner Lew Wolff, on the impracticality of building a new Athletics ballpark at the Port of Oakland (Matthew Artz, The San Jose Mercury News)

TWITTER


—–Seems that Ian Desmond hasn’t forgotten about Game Five of the 2012 NLDS.

—–Athletics minor leaguer Jeremy Barfield reconsidering his move from hitting to pitching.

THE REST

[Giancarlo Stanton] knows how to hit. The kid's a good hitter. You're not going to hit 40 home runs every year. You've got to just make constant adjustments… I hear people say, 'Well, he can't hit the slider.’ Who can hit a good slider? The best way to hit a good slider is don't miss the fastball.
—Miami Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino, on outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s chances of rebounding after a down year in 2013 (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)

We can't play baseball as long as we’d like. At some point, I’ll probably put [the degree] to use. Who knows what, but just having it and knowing it's something done and out of the way, when baseball is over, it's nice.”
Jason Castro, on completing his Stanford degree this offseason (Alyson Footer, MLB.com)

The MRI that I did on him today looked exactly the same as the MRI I did three years ago…It did not look normal compared to a person who does not play baseball for a living. But for someone who plays baseball for a living, it looked normal. There are abnormalities on the MRI as there are on every single baseball player's. But three years ago, there was no issue, and he had pretty good performance when he was with Oakland.”
—Rays team physician Koco Eaton, who cared for Grant Balfour with the Rays from 2007 to 2010 and performed his physical when the pitcher signed a two-year, $8.1 million free-agent contract with the Athletics in Jan. 2011. Baltimore did not finalize a preliminary contract agreement with Grant Balfour this past week, due to not being satisfied with his physical (Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com)

“It’s just funny growing up, watching all these guys, wanting to be on the Angels and then getting drafted by them, and now coming back to them, and hopefully getting to the big leagues with them. Everything's kind of coming full circle. It’s a blessing.”
—Newly reacquired Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, on getting the chance to play for the team he grew up loving (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)

I did expect it to be maybe a tad strange, but then again, it would only be the adults that would probably find it a little bit strange, because the kids are just happy to be there. It was cool. It was a little strange not putting the uniform on, but it was good nonetheless. I went in with an open mind, hoping for a good experience, and that's exactly how it turned out.”
Mark Trumbo, on attending the Children’s Holiday Party hosted by the Angels, despite being traded to the Diamondbacks recently (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)

I did get a chance to sit down with the head MLB doctor last year during spring training, who’s overseeing the whole thing, and it has been a high priority for them. It’s just that there has been very few answers. We both agreed on it not being mandatory at the time, there’s just no need to do that. But whatever gets proposed has to be correct or we're not really doing too much.”
Brandon McCarthy, on the possible use of protective pitcher headgear for next season (Jimmy Traina, FOXSports.com)

It should be strong enough and capable enough that literally if I got hit by the same exact ball, I would have been able to keep pitching in that game.”
—McCarthy.

I think this will educate a new group of people who may never have heard of the football findings, the hockey findings. CTE can be caused by any brain trauma.”
—Chris Nowinski, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Sports Legacy Institute, on CTE, a degenerative brain disease former player Ryan Freel had when he committed suicide (Justin Barney, The Florida Times-Union)

I’m excited. It's something I've done before and I think it's best for the team. So I am getting ready for it and I'm really excited about the challenge and I am just trying to make this team better.”
Carlos Gonzalez, on moving to center field next season, (Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post)

“Last year I went to St. Louis and a lot of people thought, 'Well, he's going to replace Pujols. There's not many players that can replace Pujols, you know? He's one of a kind. Cano is one of a kind, like myself. We have to understand our jobs as individuals and go out there and play the game.”
—Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, on being signed directly after former-Yankee Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners. (Paul Casella, MLB.com)

Morris Greenberg is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Morris's other articles. You can contact Morris by clicking here
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here
Nick Wheatley-Schaller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

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