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December 15, 2014

The Week in Quotes

December 8-14, 2014

by Nick Bacarella, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller

DODGERS SHAKE THINGS UP AT WINTER MEETINGS

I always stress becoming younger. Payroll is a byproduct of youth. You don't want to wake up one day to find out you can't compete, you're too old. You need to avoid that, and this week we took tangible steps to fulfill our overarching goal to become more reliant on our infrastructure and player development.”
—Dodgers president Stan Kasten, on the team’s moves during this week’s Winter Meetings. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)

“It’s been very exciting and sleep-deprived. The objectives are to preserve the top three prospects (Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Joc Pederson), win now, get a little more prospect depth, change some components of the roster but maintain a lot of the strengths of the roster. So it’s been a balancing act. We’ve still got work to do. But it’s been fun.”
—Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes, on the club’s flurry of moves. (Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register)

"We feel he fits incredibly well. He's good on both sides of the ball. He's a really good defender. Bat to ball, his right-center approach fits well at Dodger Stadium. We got a great makeup report. He just fits really well."
—Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman, on Howie Kendrick. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)

“The knee is the major question. The surgery is affecting him on defense. I saw him throw pretty good, but I do think his mobility behind the plate was hampered. I don’t think he’s a slam-dunk first-division catcher right now, but I see the possibility to get back close to as much potential as he showed before. A left-handed hitting catcher with power as a backup is great, and that’s the worst-case scenario, but I think they’re expecting more.”
—A major-league scout, on Yasmani Grandal. (Pedro Moura, Orange County Register)

“I’ve always said to my GMs, the roster you have in December or January is not the roster you’ll need or want or have in August or September or October. They’re always going to be needs that arise, holes that have to be filled, adjustments or improvements that you need to make. So whatever you do, don’t ever think you’re finished.”
—Kastens, on the Dodgers not being done making moves even after last week. (Pedro Moura, Orange County Register)

CUBS SIGN LESTER TO A SIX-YEAR DEAL

“It definitely sends that message, how Theo and the group feels about this particular group [of players]. But understand we have a lot of young players that have to grow up, and we have to do a good job of nurturing that and making it happen as quickly as possible. But having Jon there definitely adds to the flavor and the believability… It’s not often you get to win the lottery. We won the baseball lottery so far this year, but now it’s up to us to put it into effect. It’s all theory right now. We’ve got to make it real, but you need pieces like this to make it real.”
—Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on the message sent by the signing of Jon Lester (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“We’re not selling out for ’15. We care about ’15, and we’re trying to win in ’15. But we’re not selling out for anything but a long run of sustained success… We’re aware of what we’re growing. We haven’t given up any of our most significant prospects in these deals. We haven’t given up a draft pick in any of these deals. We’ve preserved our future. That’s always going to be something that’s important to us, because we’re trying to build towards a long run where we can have success year-in, year-out. We’re not going to sacrifice that.”
—Cubs president Theo Epstein, on the organization’s long-term and short-term priorities (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)

"You see a lot of things going on right now. It's not just shtick. It's not just flash. They're making a commitment to winning here. It's important that it's not, 'We're just trying to surprise people.' This is a commitment to winning."
—Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel, on the club’s recent moves. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)

“In general, history probably demonstrates you’re better off getting things done before you get into the frenzy of free agency. John (Henry), Tom (Werner), Ben (Cherington), myself, we’ve all been around long enough that you don’t enter free agency with a wide-eyed sense of optimism. It’s an uncharted course that takes a lot of twists and turns and it’s very hard to predict how it’s going to play out. We were absolutely hopeful that Jon, once he got a sense of what the market would be, would be more inclined to sign with us. As it turns out, that was erroneous.”
—Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, on the team failing to bring Lester back to Boston. (Boston Herald)

RED SOX FORTIFY GROUNDBALL-HEAVY PITCHING STAFF

“I think it can be done,’’ said Cherington about living without an ace. “I think there are good teams that have both versions. I think, as I’ve said before, I think we feel it’s never a question about whether a team would benefit from having an ace or a front of the rotation type of starter. The question is how do you get them and where do they come from?”
—Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, whose club traded for Rick Porcello and Wade Miley, and signed Justin Masterson at the Winter Meetings. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)

“If you’re looking at baseball 2014, the top 10-15 starting pitchers in baseball, there’s a bunch of them that two years ago would not have been on that list. So pitching can change quickly. And again, hopefully we’re closer to building some strength and depth in the rotation and we also have, beyond that, a lot of younger pitching that we think in time, some of them have a chance to develop into that type of guy.”
—Cherington.

“We feel good about the way our infield defense has gone. Obviously the right side has and should continue to be a strength. For right-handed pitchers that keep the ball on the ground, really the right side of the infield is the most important—not the only important part but the most important. Sandoval has been a good defender and we should see probably improvement at that position defensively. As we saw, Bogie is still developing as a shortstop in the major leagues. But the way he looked after he moved back to the position late in the season and what he did late in the year and even what we’ve seen in this offseason from him, we feel confident he’s going to be a solid defender there.”
—Cherington, on the team’s infield defense. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)

TWITTER

THE REST

“Liriano left some money on the table. A.J. Burnett called me the day after he became a free agent and left a lot of money on the table. They wanted to return to Pittsburgh, to win in Pittsburgh, to experience the fans and the ballpark. They wanted to be back here because of the culture you all have helped create. Thank you.
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, speaking to Pirates fans (Tom Singer, MLB.com)

“I’m very excited. It’s a chance for me to go home and to get in some good warm weather. Definitely a great opportunity for me and my family as well. It will be fun to play with a lot of the young talent the Marlins have… My elbow feels fantastic and my body feels fantastic. And I’m in a good mindset, especially being traded to a team that I’m familiar in my surroundings in Florida.”
—Starting pitcher Mat Latos, on being traded from the Reds to the Marlins (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

“We’re very excited with all of the pieces coming back. Dee Gordon brings the speed element, a leadoff hitter that we think improves our lineup. You look at what the goal is, the goal is to score runs. You have a player like Dee Gordon and you combine him with Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of our lineup, it puts pressure on opposing teams and hopefully will allow us to score more runs.”
—Marlins president Michael Hill, on receiving Dee Gordon in a trade with the Dodgers (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

"This is it for now, we've got close to where we need to be and now we can concentrate on some of the needs we have. With Johnny, Bailey and Leake you have three starters at the top of your rotation that are going to give you 200 innings. You've got a solid base and we think some of the other things we do will add to that too."
—Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, on trading away starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

"I wouldn't say dramatic things. But there was definitely a couple of specific areas in terms of positioning where we're going to try to make adjustments. … I don't know that you'll see a ton of difference. But I would say the bigger change would be shifting against righties and some outfield movement.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on whether the club plans on utilizing more defensive shifts next season. According to this year’s Bill James Handbook, the Tigers shifted the third-least among teams last season. (Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press)

“There is not a tremendous track record on reliever multi-year contracts working out well, so we wanted to be really careful about where we allocated those funds and the player we would choose to take that risk,” Hahn said. “His consistency, his durability, his makeup and work ethic made us a lot more comfortable about David being that guy to take that risk on. He really checked a lot of boxes for us in terms of having swing-and-miss stuff, profiling for the ballpark, filling when needed a multi-inning role, as well as his character and what he means in the clubhouse.”
—White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, on signing David Robertson to a four-year deal. (Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune)



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

Related Content:  Quotes,  Major League Baseball,  MLB

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