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March 31, 2014

The Week in Quotes

March 24-30

by Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller


MIGUEL CABRERA NETS HUGE EXTENSION

“I want to finish my career as a Tiger. I want to be here for many years to come.”
—Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who just signed the richest contract extension in MLB history for 8 years and $248 million. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“When you have a star player, you're much better trying to sign them with two years on the contract rather than one. When you get to that one year away, that lure of free agency becomes very large for a player. Secondly, they get additional pressures to test that market.”
—Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, explaining his rationale for the contract. Cabrera will be 40 years old when the deal expires.

“The most important thing for me and my family, and I made this clear to my agents and they agreed, was the years. I’ve always said if the team gave me the years, I would have no problem signing and trying to finish my career with Detroit. I wanted to play till age 40 and finish my career with one team”
—Cabrera. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“I don't have any hitting tips. Aging tips? He takes care of himself. He's in the weight room in the mornings.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, when asked if he had any advice for Cabrera on staying effective through the life of his deal. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“You can go back to (Barry) Bonds, (Ken) Griffey. (Alex Rodriguez), these really exceptional hitters, he’s definitely in that category. Edgar Martinez I thought was in that group. There’s probably about 10 guys, if you sat down pencil to paper, that play in another stratosphere… There’s that 10 guys, I think, and he’s definitely within maybe the top five of the top 10, and that’s a tribute to him.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, offering his judgment of Cabrera among the best hitters of all time. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“Every generation of players says that about that previous generation. They always think the following generation is getting too much money… My take is the market has changed, and has changed consistently since the union was formed, and this is what players are worth, and that's what they should be paid. I don't fault the owners for paying it. I don't fault the players for taking it. It's an entertainment industry. People don't write about what Tom Cruise is making, but I'm sure he's doing pretty well.”
—Ausmus. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“I wish we didn’t have a salary cap. He’s the best player in baseball, and the best players in each sport should be rewarded. It’d be nice to sign a 10-year deal worth $300 million.”
—Miami Heat forward LeBron James. (Sean Highkin, USA Today)

MIKE TROUT GETS LOCKED UP

“When the owner comes out and puts up these big numbers, like $33 million, it’s hard to turn that down. For security as well, obviously. You never know what can happen.”
—Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who agreed to a six-year, $144.5 million extension from the Angels this past week. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)

“When a player comes along of that caliber, you can’t help but want to put a tag on him and keep him here for as long as possible, not only from an organizational standpoint but looking at Trout's standpoint. To be 22 years old, have a six-year deal, no-trade clause, more money than he’ll ever spend—that's quite a security blanket for a kid like that.”
—Angels starter Jered Weaver, analyzing the Trout extension.

“I really believe it’s a fair deal for both sides. They were very, very happy. We met in the middle.”
—Angels owner Arte Moreno, on the Mike Trout contract.

“You can’t say enough good things about him. I’ve probably seen more Mike Trout at-bats than anyone else. He's come a long way. He deserves everything.”
—Angels starter Garrett Richards, who played with Trout throughout the minors and now in the big leagues. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

“I have the pleasure and privilege of watching Mike Trout play every night. I think he’s a very special cup of tea, for which he is deserving of a completely different brew. While few, I definitely consider Bryce Harper as part of the next generation of elite brand of teas. Certainly as a studied connoisseur, I may hold a differing opinion as to the availability, demand and value of tea futures.”
Scott Boras, forecasting Bryce Harper’s potential future contract based on the Mike Trout extension. (Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

CITY OF MONTREAL, BLUE JAYS HONOR GARY CARTER

“The city always embraced Gary, and us as a family. I really felt that tonight. We made it our home and felt privileged to be here for 11 years.”
—Sandy Carter, Gary Carter’s wife, on the family’s relationship to the city of Montreal. (The Journal News)

“He was a great teammate, a great player, a great competitor. Him and Andre Dawson taught me the meaning of playing the game. If I didn't listen to him, Andre Dawson would slap me upside the head.”
—Former Expos outfielder and current roving hitting instructor Tim Raines, on Carter’s legacy. (The Journal News)

“It brought back a bunch of memories for me. My first road trip in the big leagues was to Montreal, my first home run was in Montreal, so it was nice today to reminisce as bit.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright, on playing the first game at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in nearly 10 years. (The Journal News)

PINEDA WINS STARTING JOB

“Everybody is excited because they know I’ve been working hard for the last two years and I want to go back to the majors. Today is a big day for me.”
—Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda, who pitched well enough during spring training to earn the fifth spot in the Yankees rotation. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“My preference is just to help the team win. Whatever role they need me, I’m willing to do. Like I’ve been saying from Day One, it’s a matter of going and getting outs and helping this team win another championship.”
—Yankees pitcher David Phelps, Pineda’s biggest competitor for the starter’s role. Phelps will open the season in the bullpen. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“Watching him throw his bullpens, I kept saying the ball was coming out easy. He looked really good. I’m not surprised the way he’s pitched from what I saw five or six weeks ago.”
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“When I’m on the mound I’m not thinking about my shoulder; I feel ready to go. The only thing I think about on the mound is making a good pitch and getting an out. I’m not thinking nothing about my shoulder. I’m putting everything in the past. I want to continue my career and I want to be here for a long time.”
—Pineda. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

TWITTER

—Sean Doolittle knows his basketball.

THE REST

“They keep me humble, man. They're like, 'Hey, it might be a little different this year, but don't take that foot off the gas.' It may be more in the way of responsibility, but I got the feel of that towards the end of the year.”
—Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who recently signed a six-year extension worth $23 million. (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)

“I'd never come off the bench; never been a non-starter in my career. So, it was very difficult for me to adjust to that role. I thought I'd be better adjusting to it. I was OK coming off the bench for pinch-hits and whatnot. My issue was my starts. Whenever I got a start, it was tough getting back into my routine. When you spend enough time sitting on the bench and not getting into games until the seventh or eighth inning, sometimes it weighs on you. Last year, I let it get to me a bit.”
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jordan Schafer, on adjusting to his role on the bench (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“When I caught him in the big leagues, I was like, 'Who is this?' I know he's still Gerrit, he still had the 100-mph fastball, but then he had a hammer curveball with depth and he had a wipeout slider. Guys don't come here and use the baseballs with the smaller laces and get better, and he did.”
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez, on catching Gerrit Cole (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“If I pitch like this April 1, then I’ll be happy.”
—Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who threw seven shutout innings against the Pirates on Friday. (Andy Martino, New York Daily News)

“I think my first year was definitely a challenge for myself because every single ball I threw was magnified. At times it really pushed myself to be game ready at the start of spring. It really caused me to do a lot of extra throwing in the offseason and more working out… Just from talking to guys that have been through it before and figured out the puzzle on what it is like to stay healthy and throw 200 innings. They all say that. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon. You really got to not try change your program from one bad start to the next.”
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, on learning to pitch well over a full season (Bryton Kerr, MASN Sports)

“The last couple of years, everything’s been so negative and nothing’s really gone my way. It’s almost hard to realize what’s going on and hard for it to sink in. I was hoping this was going to be the case and I liked the way things were going. . . . When (Farrell) told me, I just smiled and was ready to move forward.”
—Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore, who was named the Red Sox’s starting center fielder for Opening Day. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)

“His mentality is he doesn't care who you are. If you're taking some good swings against him, he's going to come after you. I don't think that is around the game anymore. If somebody is taking good hacks at you, they would have hit you right away 10-15 years ago. He has that mentality of 10-15 years ago. I think that is going to make him special for a lot of years.”
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, on Braves starting pitcher Julio Tehran (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“It didn't seem that the organization was investing in the team, the players or the city. It was very frustrating. I felt that ownership was fine with not competing. But now, it feels like we're all-in. I think the window is definitely now, and they seem to realize it.”
—Towson, Maryland, resident and Baltimore Orioles fan Sean Collins, who believes the team has turned a corner and is ready to contend for a championship. (Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun)

“I know I've developed a routine that works for me. Every case is different. But I think a lot of it has to do with how hard guys are working in the offseason, whether they strengthen their body enough to handle the stress we put on our bodies. I don't know if all of them are slacking a bit, but I'm willing to bet some of these guys, if they would have worked a little harder in the offseason, they would be able to decrease the chances of those things happening. That's not all of them. But I'm willing to bet there are a few. Sometimes guys have to go through an injury to realize that. And all of a sudden, you develop a routine that prevents that from happening and never look back. I've tried to do everything I can to hedge that up front and prevent anything from happening.”
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee, on staying healthy (Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer)

“It was a great year. You can't expect to go out and duplicate it. Once you have shown the ability to do it, obviously, there is the ability to do it again. But my goal is not to go out and hit 50 home runs again. My goal is to do whatever I have to do to get us to the postseason and be productive.”
—Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, on his goals for the coming season. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“Obviously management and Joe wanted to implement an environment where they felt it was comfortable and suitable for guys just to play baseball and not have the stress that usually comes with it. And when you let kids be kids, which we all are, it turns into a fun environment. They're not too demanding, there's not many rules and regulations, they're not nitpicking things here and there. It just allows a bunch of guys to be guys. And have fun.”
—Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, on the effect of a relaxed clubhouse on the team’s success. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“He got called up with some injuries, but he was able to play enough where we didn't have to send him down. And then he kept catching so well that he started taking over the duties and just ran with it. He made a big difference for us.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, expressing the importance of Gomes to the team’s success. (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)

“I figured he’d be fine. We just had to play it out, and see where we were going. We’ll still see how Omar feels. But he’s rebounded really nice the last couple of days, and felt good going into each workout, and each game down there.”
—Royals manager Ned Yost, who expects second baseman Omar Infante to be ready for Opening Day. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“When you run 30, 40 yards to catch a home run and you jump, you're going to hit the wall really high. When you play deep, you see a fly ball and you time it; you get a good jump and you can catch it. It depends who's hitting, where we're playing… When you play 'no doubles,' nothing can be over your head. Everything has to be in front of you.”
—Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, on robbing home runs (Tyler Dunne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“Chase [Utley] is a perfect example why we don't worry as much as everybody worries.”
—Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr, on not being worried about the Phillies offense (Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer)

“The fact that I was able to come back for two years and pitch for two years after surgery means that the first surgery worked, but I didn't change anything mechanically from what I was doing before the first time. Once I blew out the second time, I wasn't Googling surgeons or anything like that. I was Googling myself, looking at pictures and coming in looking at film of what I was doing mechanically, which I probably should have done the first time around.”
—Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen, on trying to figure out why he injured his elbow again (Joe Morgan, MLB.com)

“I always knew there was a possibility that I would be going to the Minors. But I definitely am shocked at this decision.”
New York Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, on being demoted to Triple A after spring training (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)

“Joe didn’t come in here and try to pitch poorly. He came in here and did what he can do. He worked hard. He was in the weight room all the time. I have not met the player in my life that goes out with the intention of not performing well. It just didn’t work out here for Joe. That’s the way it goes.”
—Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto, on releasing Joe Blanton. (Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register)

“He played his way into it this spring and from what it is he was able to accomplish last year. And just looking at his overall numbers throughout his career, he’s always been a high on-base guy. And the fact that he’s a switch-hitter, that helps us all.”
—Astros manager Bo Porter, on how Robbie Grossman’s excellent performance this offseason earned him the number 2 spot in the batting order for this year.

“It's going to mean everything. My grandma hasn't seen me pitch since I was 14 years old. For sure, it's going to be a special night. But it's special the way it is already. Her being there is going to add more to my personal feelings.”
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, on being Miami’s Opening Day Starter (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)

“I’m just extremely excited for the opportunity. Let’s get this season started and let’s get things rolling the right direction. This is definitely not what I expected. It’s unfortunate for Darvish, but... I’m going to go out there and do what I know what to do.”
—Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers, on being the opening day starter for the Rangers. Scheppers is the first pitcher in 33 years to make his first career major league start on opening day. (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
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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