August 11, 2014
The Week in Quotes
PADRES INTRODUCE A.J. PRELLER AS NEW GENERAL MANAGER
“I really want our staff to think about being cutting edge. I look forward to being that type of group, being next-wave, being ahead of the curve. ... Usually when you get an idea or thought that works, within a year 10 other teams are copying that or doing the same thing. That's why you constantly have to hit on ideas that give you a competitive advantage and, when the competition catches up, hopefully hit on the next idea to take us where we need to get to.”
—A.J. Preller, who was introduced as the new Padres general manager on Wednesday. (Dennis Lin, UT San Diego)
“When the Rangers went to the World Series in 2010, it was about a $55 million dollar payroll. You look at today’s baseball and there’s a lot of parity. There are people from all different spectrums that are winning. I don’t see money as any type of excuse. The biggest thing is putting a quality team on the field, whether it’s a big-payroll club or a medium-payroll club. I have a lot of confidence in ownership that, at the right time -- that might be two weeks from now, two years from now or two months from now -- you go to them and say, “We put a competitive, quality club on the field. Get us a piece to put us over the top, or let’s talk about an impactful piece to take us home.” I feel very confident that’s going to be the case here.”
—Preller, on whether his expectations will have to change working with a smaller budget in San Diego than he did as assistant general manager with Texas. (Dennis Lin, UT San Diego)
“When we first got to Texas, there was always a lot of talk that you can’t pitch in that ballpark, that pitchers wouldn’t want to come there. When the Rangers had lesser talent, I think those factors played out. When the Rangers went out and got Derek Holland, Yu Darvish, Neftali Feliz and C.J. Wilson, pretty quickly they started pitching at a pretty high level. I think it’s the same thing here in Petco. The challenge is going to be providing Bud Black and his staff with talented, impact performers. Hitters hit. Power guys perform. If you look at some of the better hitters in Petco history, it’s been guys with all-star backgrounds, guys with plus tools and plus ability. It’s going to be a challenge to us to go and acquire talent and see how that plays in Petco.”
—Preller, on whether building a team for a hitter-friendly park in Texas affects the way he views things coming to San Diego’s pitcher-friendly PETCO Park.
“I learned a lot of things from J.D., but two things really stand out. The first was that he was really good at seeing what our competitive window was. When we first went in there, we probably misevaulated that and helped out the Padres a lot with the Adrian Gonzalez-Chris Young trade (the Rangers received Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka). J.D. and I probably thought we were a lot closer than we really were to winning at that time. Pretty quickly, we realized we made a misevaluation. The second thing about J.D. is he’s a tremendous decision-maker. You have to be willing to make the tough move, the tough trade, and be right more than your competitors. He’s shown he can do that.”
—Preller, on what he learned from Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, whom he served under and who was also his fraternity brother at Cornell.
JAVIER BAEZ CALLED UP TO CHICAGO
“There is energy, for sure. Anytime you call up a young guy, it brings energy. Everybody wants to meet him, talk about him. He’s fresh; he hasn’t been seeing all the losses. He’s just excited to be here and is trying to put his stamp on the league.”
—Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan, on having Baez on the team (David Just, Chicago Sun-Times)
"At the plate, I want him to be himself. He's chipped away at some of the approach aspects of his game to get here. We want him to trust his skill set… We also don't want him to feel like he has to carry the team. He has to continue to maintain to start zoning in on those areas he's capable of taking advantage of. If they don't want to pitch to him, we have another guy behind him who can hit. We're still imparting those type of messages to him.”
—Cubs manager Rick Renteria, on Baez (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)
“No matter how many ABs I miss, I’m just going to keep doing my thing. I haven’t been nervous or anything. I’ve been slowing the game down and thinking about the situation.”
—Baez, after going 3-for-4 with two home runs in his third career game (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)
ORTIZ AND OTHER BOSTON VETERANS IN FOR TOUGH FINAL TWO MONTHS
“We’re just not here to collect numbers and paychecks. We’re here to win like we did last year. That’s when baseball is fun. It’s tough for a guy like [Dustin] Pedroia not to be able to play for something. That’s what we do. That’s why it’s been such a great career here in Boston because we always won something or were fighting for the playoffs. We’re not fighting for that now.”
—Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, on the club not being positioned for a playoff run in the final two months of the season. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“We’re trying to figure some things out here, and I think [general manager] Ben [Cherington] has a done a good job with the moves he’s made so far. I told them after last year that we needed power. I suggested Nelson Cruz, but I’m sure they had their reasons not to sign him, but he’s the big reason why Baltimore is in first place,”
“If you’re Boston, you need to have a great lineup every year. If you don’t have that we’re not going to be able to compete. I knew when we didn’t get a big power hitter in the offseason it was going to be tough. Now they went out and got [Yoenis] Cespedes and Allen [Craig] and our lineup is starting to get some power to it again. We’ve got a few things we need to figure out,”
LARUSSA DEFENDS DIAMONDBACKS AMID HBP CONTROVERSY
"So what's happened is some teams have developed this idea that they can pitch in and up," La Russa said. "Well it's got rewards because I don't care if you're a right-hander or left-hander, that spot right there, nobody gets to that pitch. So it's a hole for everybody. The problem is, unless you have Greg Maddux pitching, that's a very risky area to throw in."
—Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony LaRussa, on his organization being under fire for retaliating and hitting Andrew McCutchen after the Pirates had hit Paul Goldschmidt the previous day. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“And I don't judge because if that's the way you want to pitch, you need to understand with those rewards it comes with risks. So for those teams that are really featuring that style of finishing a hitter or setup the outside pitch by throwing the ball up and in, the other team that sees that they say, 'Wait a minute, we're going to throw the ball in more often.' So those teams the risk they face is that they get pitched in more often.”
“I'm sitting there and I hear Arizona is always in the middle of this. Is that right? Here's Arizona, number of hit batsmen by our pitchers—32. 32. Here are some of the other ones in the league, you've got 47s, you've got 48s, 42s, 38s. Now does 32 sound to you like a team that's hitting people? How many of these have we had? A couple, three? You want to start doing your research and see the number of teams that have had issues with each other. Just do the research. If you want to be fair. I don't see where the Diamondbacks should catch all this [flak] they're catching.”
“That to me is what's surprising and upsetting about how shortsighted this criticism is. Here's a team that's lost three hitters—Hill, Pollock, and Goldschmidt—with broken bones. Those pitches should never be thrown up there, never.”
“I have a personal and professional respect for Tony; I see things from a different lens. We try to pitch aggressively to both sides of the plate. We have not taken an initiative to pitch dangerously. He's entitled to his opinion.”
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on comments from Tony La Russa about the Diamondbacks hitting Andrew McCutchen in response to Paul Goldschmidt was injured by a hit by pitch (Stephen Pianovich, MLB.com)
“You're not going to end up with the same guys you have coming out of spring training. Over the course of the season, there are going to be ups and downs, there are going to be struggles, guys are going to get hurt. This game is crazy. One day you are closing and the next day you are doing mop-up duty. It's tough in the bullpen. It's all about how consistent you can be over the season.”
—Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez, on the inconsistent nature of bullpens (Tom Haudricourt, Journal Sentinel)
“That's the last thing on my mind when I'm walking up to the plate. I really had no idea. When [a Nationals spokesperson] came up to me, I had no clue that I did anything. Seriously, that's the last thing on my mind going to face [Aaron] Harang or [Craig] Kimbrel or somebody like that. I had no idea why that was such a big deal.”
—Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, on accusations he intentionally dragged his foot across the “A” drawn in the dirt behind home plate at Turner Field (Joe Morgan, MLB.com)
“I'm still kind of dumbfounded on how it happened. It's hard to go from throwing 95 to 87; or giving up no hits, thinking it's turning into something special, and then all of a sudden you throw one pitch and you can't feel your hand.”
—Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, on exiting in the middle of a no-hitter with what turned out to be a partially torn UCL. Skaggs will undergo Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected to pitch in 2015. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“I think its going to be an advantage for us compared to other interleague games where we’re going in blind. At least as far as our scouting reports go. We will lean heavily on A.J. We talked to Lackey about this Boston club before they came here. We’ll be talking to Justin, John and A.J. all about their ideas of these hitters as we head to Baltimore. There’s not a better source. They are just different sources. They both give us information and we match it up against what we see through our data and through our video.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on how having acquired players who recently played in the American League helps with interleague games (Joe Trezza, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“I think way too much was made of it. All I was saying is we played a lot better games and our head wasn't in the game. That's the fact. We didn't show up and play our best game. The only thing that was missing was our energy. That's something that showed up every game for us this year. That was disappointing. But I didn't anticipate it was going to be anything more than a blip on the radar.”
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on his team playing with more energy after he criticized their effort in the previous game (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)
“Who are you going to face? Are you going to face the guy with three hits or the guy with no hits? So you're only as good as your next at-bat. I forgot about everything else that happened previously in the game and just wanted to try to win that at-bat.”
—Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, on hitting a walk-off single after the Mets intentionally walked Chase Utley. Howard had gone 0-for-4 in the game before that at-bat (Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“When the season started I was definitely missing [managing]. I would get up every morning at 4:30, fix myself a cup of coffee and sit in a little room by myself, and I'd drink a couple of cups of coffee and I couldn't do anything else, so I would go back in there and turn the television on, trying to go back to sleep. I kind of kept up with everyone in Spring Training. But it was tough. I missed being around the clubhouse more than even the games. I missed the guys. I missed talking to them.”
—Former manager Charlie Manuel, after being inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame, on retirement (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)
“I didn’t think things would feel this good and this easy. Throwing off the mound is the part where you hear that guys have some troubles, that the ball is all over the place. But the way that it felt for me throwing from the first day, I kind of knew that I wasn’t going to have any troubles, and today definitely proved that right.”
—Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, on throwing off a mound for the first time since Tommy John surgery (Peter Kerasotis, The New York Times)
"He made them look easy. We're lucky we get to see it all the time. I know he doesn't get the notoriety or the accolades in the press that some other guys do, but he should. He deserves it, and he's hitting almost .280 as well. You talk about guys improving and getting better, he's one of those guys. That's huge for us and for our future. For us, he's a Gold Glover. We understand. We get to see him play every single day. His day will come because he's that good. Through that consistency he'll get a Gold Glove."
—Marlins manager Mike Redmond, on Adeiny Hechavarria’s defense at shortstop (Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
“It was a little different not being able to storm Pujols completely after that. As soon as he hit it and it bounced up, we thought it would be reviewed.”
—Angels starter Matt Shoemaker, on the walk-off home run hit by Albert Pujols hit in the 19th inning of Saturday night’s game needing to be confirmed by replay review. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)
“I don't know if you saw my reaction when Cabrera smoked that ball, but I literally dropped my head and said, 'Crap.’ I thought it was way gone. It was an unbelievable play, and the sinking liner was even better. Colby saved me twice today.”
—Blue Jays reliever Chad Jenkins, on Colby Rasmus making a pair of stellar defensive plays—a leaping grab at the wall and a diving catch on a sinking liner—during Sunday’s 19-inning marathon. (Jamie Ross, MLB.com)
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Nick Wheatley-Schaller is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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