January 21, 2014
The Week in Quotes
CLAYTON KERSHAW CASHES IN
“He checks all the boxes—on the field, off the field, in the community, age-wise. There’s been a lot of attention to this being the biggest contract for a pitcher in baseball. That is the case, and if someone should have that contract it should be the best pitcher in baseball and that is what we regard Clayton as.”
“For me personally, this is the longest amount I was comfortable with committing myself towards. I always want to be able to see the finish line. I think anything longer than this, I would feel overwhelmed to try and live up to those expectations.”
“It’s gratifying that I think of him as a friend and hopefully he thinks of me the same way. He’s just such a good person.”
“Now we have significant funds to maintain it forever.”
FRONT OFFICE EXECS WEIGH IN ON ARBITRATION
“It works poorly. Someone once said that it’s such a good idea that no other sports league adopted it, so that tells you how good of an idea it is.”
“It's a fairly objective process, and when two parties approach it with the mind-set to get something done, usually you can figure out a way to do that. I was cautiously optimistic, and obviously we're thrilled to have resolved all of our arbitration cases. … It's a suboptimal process if you have to go to a hearing.”
TEAMS BANKING ON HEALTHY CAMPAIGNS
“We've missed him for really the past couple years. Just him in the middle of our lineup creates a lot of different things for the opposing team. His power is scary, as we all know, but he doesn't need to hit 60 homers. He has a knack for driving in runs. When guys are on base, he seems to put a good at-bat together and score that guy. Having him get 600 at-bats will be fun to watch again.”
“We're banking on the return of [Ryan] Braun and [Aramis] Ramirez for 500-plus at-bats each. That makes a big difference. Last year, they had just over 500 at-bats combined. Getting 500 more at-bats is like acquiring a major player.”
CUBS SOAK IN BLACKHAWKS EXPERIENCE
“Being at the stadium and watching all the people go crazy during the national anthem, that was awesome. I can just imagine what it'll be like when we turn it around and actually win a World Series. I'm excited. It gives me chills.”
“Anything I see, I eat. Last night at the hockey game, I had an Italian sausage, cheese fries, Sprite, Coke, and a hot dog with cheese on it.”
—Brandon Crawford understandably isn’t a fan of Kershaw staying in the division for seven more years.
—Justin Verlander’s reaction to Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s postgame interview.
“I feel like we have a very good team, so hopefully we can make some kind of run. If we can have this team that we have right now on paper and everybody stays healthy and produces the type of seasons that we all can produce, I think we can do something special. … I want to be part of it.”
“Actually, (Abreu looked) better than I thought. As (general manager Rick Hahn) has stated, he is a very serious hitter. He has a plan. He has an idea about how he wants to go about everything he does. He's very particular and, as you've heard me say before, he's a strong man.”
“Part of the problem is his slider is so good. If you have a pitch nobody can hit, it’s difficult not to throw it every time the catcher puts the signal down. Sometimes when guys have a pitch as good as his slider is, they don’t want to throw anything but it. Because they know the majority of the time the hitters aren’t going to hit it.”
“His hands have always been soft… He didn't get on base as much last year as in the past, but he said he's ready for a bounce-back year. It's just going to be year of trying out for us at first base… I just told him who we have—Juan Francisco and some of the younger guys. I said we might still look at somebody else. His experience gives him a little bit of an edge over some of our guys. All you can do is lay it out for him… There were some other teams interested, but he viewed our opportunity as a good one, and he said he liked playing in the National League. He said he also likes hitting in our ballpark."
“From the first time that I saw him when he was pitching in spring training—literally, the first time I saw him—I said, ‘This kid is going to be a stud.’ I’m pretty fascinated by him. He’s a pretty unique character.”
“We’d like them to not sue us.”
“From what I've been told, it is permanent. That was the big question I had when they wanted to make the move. I didn't want to get into the pingpong match of bouncing back and forth from starting to relieving. Closing, being a late-inning guy, that's something I've always wanted to do… The idea was to work into it. The first outing was three innings. Then I had three days off, and I would throw two innings, a couple days off, then two innings again. It was a progression to get to where I was throwing with fewer days off. The organization wanted to make it an easy transition for me.”
“I know that there was not a positive drug test, but there was just cause. So, no, I don’t think he belongs … I don’t envy the job that the voters have. Regardless of where his career was going, from the information I’ve been exposed to and from what I have read, I don’t think he will get in … but hey Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get roughly 30 percent of the vote.”
“I like that. I like talking to people. And ... that's what I want to do: [speak to] season-ticket holders, people who work at ballparks. I just like to walk around and talk to people. I love that. I did that when I ran the Brewers. And I enjoyed it. I miss that.”
“This is, as we’ve said from the very beginning, a three-year rollout. We understand that. And the reason we made it a three-year thing, and not one year, and not two years, is that we expect, as we get into this first year, that we'll see some things that worked great … and we'll see some things that need tightening up, and some things that need to be altered. And by the end of the second year, we'll be ready to have a plan that, if it's not foolproof, is at least close to it.”
“It was just a freak accident, and it stinks that’s what happened. For me, personally, it’s a big blow. I was very excited to get back with the guys and start the season. I felt like my offseason was great. I had what I thought was a good season last year and wanted to build off it.”
“That game will always define the one solid day of work I had and the fact that I got to share it with my grandmother - only a few people appreciate the magnitude of that. That was living the dream.”
“This is the best thing about the Ricketts and their commitment to the Cubs: They know that they’re going to own this club for generations and generations. So they are willing to take the hit now and take some of the heat now and be on the back page of the Sun-Times. Because they know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation, to get things right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations. I am more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said: ‘We can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this. We need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans and media at bay. They’re dragging the Ricketts name through the mud.’ They’re in this for the long haul. And because of that, they’re allowing us to lay the foundation.”
Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus.