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March 2, 2015

The Week in Quotes

February 23-March 1, 2015

by Nick Bacarella, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller

Moncada’s record-setting deal sparks debate about possible international draft

“I think we’re more discerning than ever, despite what people might write this week,” Henry said. “High-ceiling players, you have to take risks on, but especially young players. But I think we’re more discerning, especially with regard to free agents, and 30-year-old free agents and above. … We did an analysis, and you take risks with every player. More and more we prefer to take risks with younger players rather than older ones. Anytime you spend $50 or $60 or $100 million on a player, it’s a risk. It’s so difficult to predict performance, but if your goal is to win championships, you have to be bold.”
—Red Sox owner John Henry, on investing more money in young players with upside rather than aging veterans. The Red Sox and 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada agreed to a $31.5 million signing bonus on Monday, meaning the club also had to pay a $31.5 million tax to MLB for exceeding their international spending limits. (Alex Speier, Boston Globe)

“If some team out there wants to write a check to a player for $30 million or $100 million or $1 billion, that’s great,” he said. “The Players Association doesn’t have a problem with that. If owners believe money should be equitably distributed among foreign and domestic players, they can do that. If they don’t want to spend $30 million in the international pool, then don’t.”
—Red Sox reliever and active MLB Players Association member Craig Breslow, on the possibility of an international draft being implemented during the next collective bargaining agreement. (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)

“He was a unique player,” said Breslow. “Every owner who is writing a check has to make a choice prioritizing players and establishing a value. If the player accepts, you have a deal. I don’t know that we need to limit international signings. When players make a lot of money, it’s good for players regardless of where they come from.”
—Breslow.

“I would have loved to be a free agent in college and made the best deal I could. Maybe I should have moved out of the country. If everybody was a free agent, you’d get what your real value is. But that’s never going to happen.”
—Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., wondering whether all amateur players should be made free agents.

“Good for him,” said Marrero. “I know guys from Cuba have to go through a lot to get to play baseball here. I have respect for them because they have to work a lot harder than we do to get to the major leagues.
—Red Sox shortstop prospect Deven Marrero, on Moncada’s signing bonus.

Dodgers hope biomechanical data can help them better assess injury risk and decrease injuries

“As we are going through available players, we find requisite upside, and we dig into their medical histories to see if it’s a fool’s errand or not,” Friedman said this week. “We appreciate the risk and appreciate the upside.”
—Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman, who hopes to use enhanced biomechanical data to better gauge the risk of signing oft-injured pitchers and to prevent future ones. (Pedro Moura, Orange County Register)

“That’s what’s awesome about the Dodgers. They’re willing to advance themselves,” Pourciau said. “A lot of baseball is fighting that advancement. It’s starting to change, but more teams need to open up to that advancement. It’s not that players are going to be forced to do it. They just want to get an understanding of it, give their players an opportunity, and help the organization evolve.”
—Biomechanic consultant Brent Pourciau, who was brought in by Friedman this spring to analyze video of Dodgers pitchers and suggest minor adjustments to their deliveries.

“I think you find that people who’ve been injured multiple times are more willing to try new things. Because it’s pretty crappy being injured all the time.”
—Dodgers reliever Sergio Santos, on being open to biomechanic studies.

“You don’t speak about it, because you don’t want to it come knocking. If you can act like it doesn’t exist, then you’re almost immune. Until you’re not.”
Dodgers starting pitcher Brandon Beachy, on being willingly ignorant about elbow injuries prior to having his first Tommy John surgery five years ago.

Reds fire back at Latos after comments attacking leadership and medical staff

“Kremchek has done my knee and my shoulder and I'm going on 38 this year and my 14th year in the big leagues,” Byrd said. “You can't question him. At all. You can question your work ethic coming back and your rehab coming back. But to question the doctor who did the surgery? I don't see how that goes hand-in-hand. The rehab is the part that happens. You do the surgery, the surgery holds, your rehab is the important stuff. He has to put that on himself. I don't know the kid at all, but what I do know is that I've been around the game a lot longer than him — to get traded to another organization, to the Marlins who are ready to win, and he's still getting paid and he gets to pitch in a pitcher's park, why in the world would you want to bash an organization that did right by you and put you with a good organization. That doesn't make any sense to me. He needs to worry about himself and worry about pitching for the Marlins.”
—Reds outfielder Marlon Byrd, responding to accusations that Marlins pitcher Mat Latos made last week about his former club’s medical staff and lack of leadership within the clubhouse. Although he has yet to play a game with the Reds, Byrd has had two surgeries performed on him by the club’s medical director Dr. Timothy Kremcheck. (C. Trent Rosencrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“This was really the only thing I wanted to say, those guys in there do an unbelievable job. I fought and fought and fought to say, 'Hey, I want to play Opening Day.' They kind of held me back. They wouldn't let me get to the point — just because they knew how much time it took to heal. For him to say that they're rushing people to get back in the game couldn't be further from the truth.”
—Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, on comments Latos made saying that he was rushed back from a knee injury. (C. Trent Rosencrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“It's really disappointing because we have a really good training staff, one of the best I've been around. I've been around a long time. I'll just say it's addition by subtraction and I'll leave it at that.”
—Reds utility man Skip Schumaker, on Latos’ comments.

“If this was a court of law, the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness.”
—Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey.

Duquette discusses trading prospects for established big-league talent

“I've always said the farm system can help you in two ways. You can bring players to help your major league team like we've done with (Matt) Wieters, Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman. Or you can utilize the system to trade prospects that are not ready to help in the big leagues for players that can help you. Fortunately we have some depth to our farm system which allows us to maintain a competitive big league club. That is a good reflection on our player development operation and that is good for our fans and the players on the current team.”
—Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, on utilizing his farm system. (Steve Melewski, MASNsports.com)

“We didn't want to do that, but it was required to acquire that pitcher,” Duquette said. “And Andrew Miller helped the Orioles get to the playoffs. I could argue he was the difference in the first playoff series with the Tigers. What if he was on the other side of the field in the Detroit dugout? What if we didn't have him to get key outs in that series? There is a case of yes, we gave up a really good prospect, but it was required for us to take a shot at the pennant. At that point of the season, I think you have to roll the dice and see if you can help your team advance.”
—Duquette, on trading pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez for a half-season of Andrew Miller at last year’s trade deadline.

“That is always the risk that you take,” he said. “But again, if you are going to try for a pennant you have to do what you have to do. You have to take the shot. You have to swallow hard to trade young prospects. But if you are in a pennant race, it is incumbent on the team to make those trades to keep that going during the season. You never know what can happen. Look at Kansas City. They got in on the second wild card, barely won an extra-inning game and ended up winning the pennant. That second wild card makes it more interesting. Once you get in the playoffs it's a bit of a crapshoot. Anything can happen.”
—Duquette, on balancing the risk that a traded prospect could turn into a cost-controlled star with the benefit of present-day upgrades.

“The wild card allows more teams to be competitive late in the season and it's a more competitive forum,” Duquette said. “Consequently teams trying to acquire these players are competing against the other clubs' prospect inventory. It's more competitive now and teams that are trading players have more leverage with the extra wild card. But make no mistake. That is the real job of the farm system, to help the major league club.”
—Duquette.

The Rest

“I’m trying to make the umpire’s job easier. The better lane I give them to see the ball, the better relationship I’m going to have with them, the more they’re going to trust me,” Grandal said. “I’m always talking to them, trying to see, ‘Hey, do you have a good lane to see? Am I cutting you off? Are you seeing this pitch?’ The relationship between the catcher and pitcher is pretty important, but you also have to have a relationship with the umpire.”
—Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, on pitch framing. (Mark Saxson, ESPN)

“A little bit. It's been awesome, though, because a lot of my teammates don't really care too much about it. They know the business side, and things like this can happen all the time, so I haven't been treated differently than I thought I would.”
—Shortstop prospect Trea Turner, on whether it feels weird showing up to Padres camp despite being unofficially being traded to the Nationals as a PTBNL. Because Turner was taken in this past year’s draft, he cannot officially join the Nationals until June 13th. (Dennis Lin, San Diego Union-Tribune)

“I mean, that's unbelievable. So to be able to have a guy like Scherzer come in, I just started laughing. I was like: 'Where's my ring?' Cause it's just stupid. It's absolutely stupid how good our staff is. To add a Cy Young, to add a guy that is unbelievable in the postseason. If you have to go into a 5-game set in the postseason — looking ahead, like I told you I wouldn't — you have to go into a 5-game set with a team, you're going to have to face Zimmermann, Fister, Scherzer and Stras. Good luck. That's just insane. Going into that, I'm just crying. It's hilarious to me, having to go in there and face them. It's absolutely stupid. We have the best staff in baseball, I don't care what anybody says. And the thing about our guys: They work. It's not like it's just: 'Let's just go out there and play. They work, and they work hard. And to add a guy like Scherzer, who's a bulldog out there, who's unbelievable in the postseason and shows that fire and that emotion, is something I'm going to enjoy watching this year. And I think our team in the outfield is going to do a lot of watching, because they're going to be carving it. We're excited.”
—Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, on when he first found out that the club had signed Max Scherzer. (Chase Hughes, CSN Washington)

“I have a pretty good relationship with [A's GM] Billy Beane,” Anthopoulos said. “We've done a bunch of small deals. The one thing about Billy, he's always open-minded and you can never offend him; you can ask about anybody at any time to make a deal. [Donaldson] is somebody we asked about right at the end of the season. We were adamantly told, 'He's not going to be moved.' Then we asked about him a little later. [Beane] was still adamant that [Donaldson] was not going to be moved. Then I guess, about a week before we did the deal, we asked about him again in a conversation, he again said he wouldn't move him, but it seemed in passing that one of the issues was they wanted to win this year. They might retool, but they weren't going to tear it down. [Beane] wasn't going to leave a hole at third base. I'm the one who introduced Lawrie at that point. We weren't going to trade Lawrie, but I wasn't getting anywhere with trying to get Donaldson. Once I introduced Lawrie to fill that hole for him, he seemed a little bit more open-minded and we took it from there. That was the only way I think things could get off the ground, because [Beane] still had every intention to win.”
—Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, on his relationship with Athletics GM Billy Beane and the process of acquiring Josh Donaldson this past offseason. (Mike Bauman, MLB.com)

“We should have a dynamic offensive player hitting seventh. At this point in time if we have concerns over who's hitting seventh or if they're going to having some hurt feelings, then we really don't have the pieces here that we want. We need guys to accept their roles and buy into it to give us the best chance to win. These guys are sensitive. Everyone wants to feel like where they hit in the order is appreciated. The thing is unfortunately it's not until your career is over that you learn how important it was to hit second or seventh or eighth in the lineup and what type of responsibilities and significant responsibilities there are based on where you hit in the order.”
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on how he sets his lineup while taking his players’ desires into account (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)

‘‘He’s a great-looking athlete. He seems to be in position for every ground ball. I guess it’s from the basketball background that his feet are always in position to get a great hop. It’s fun to watch, seeing his body in that position almost every time. He never seems to be caught in between hops — he always seems to get that good hop.’’
—White Sox infield coach Joe McEwing, on shortstop prospect Tim Anderson (Daryl Von Schowen, Chicago Sun-Times)

“With those freed up now, the left side of the plate comes back in play," Farrell said. "What I would hate to see happen is that here's a nine-year major-league veteran who switch-hit the entire time all of a sudden be solely one-sided. There was a reason why he hit left-handed to begin with, and that was to better attack right-handed pitching.”
—Red Sox manager John Farrell, who indicated that it’s likely that outfielder Shane Victorino will return to switch-hitting this season now that the nagging injuries that prompted him to hit exclusively from the right side midway through 2013 are behind him. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“You’ve really got to emphasize tracking the ball all the way through because it can dance all the way to the last couple of inches,” said Martin, adding that the other adjustment he’s making is physical. You really want to position yourself in a way that you feel free and usually, when you’re a bit more square to the pitcher, what happens is if the ball cuts toward my left, sometimes if the ball is down I can hit my knee. If you turn yourself sideways, it allows you to have more room with the glove and you can move it around a little bit. Blocking, you don’t really think about it, the key is to keep the ball in front of you, catch it. Framing is also something I’m not going to be too concerned with. I just want to make sure the ball stays in the glove.”
—Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, on catching R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball. (Shi Davidi, Sportsnet)

“I’ll be walking on it in a few days. Just doing therapy. I guess it’s as good as it can possibly be. It’s early. Three weeks, worst case, maybe touch or two longer than that. But we are still here in spring. I don’t see this trickling on into the regular season at all… It was really just a freak incident. I’ve just done it a million times and this time it didn’t work out so well. There was a guy who broke into my house and it was pretty dark. I grabbed my throwing star. I missed him, so I hit him with a roundhouse, tied him up, throw him by the curb.”
—White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, who suffered an avulsion fracture on his foot on Friday. General manager Rick Hahn later divulged that Sale injured his foot while unloading his truck. (Dan Hayes, CSN Chicago)

“That's how God works,” Urias said in Spanish. “He gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm.”
—Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias, on his condition that produces a droopy left eyelid. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

“Every time I talk to him, I try to give him some advice,” Reyes said. “What can I do? I try to push him to do stuff. I don't know if he gets it or not . . . You have to work, man. When you're younger, you think you have everything there for you. But if you do something wrong, it's going to go away. Quick. When I was there, I always give a lot of advice to him . . . My last year there, every time I talk to him: 'This is going to be your position for a long time. Don't let it go away.' See what happened now? It's 2015 and he doesn't have a position to play.”
—Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes, on former teammate Ruben Tejada not running away with the starting shortstop job after the veteran left New York. (Anthony Rieber, Newsday)

“They don’t understand that when you come out of the box, you’re thinking about what the guy’s trying to do,” Ortiz said. “This is not like you go to the plate with an empty mind. When you see guys coming out of the box, we’re not doing it just for doing it. Our mind is speeding up. I saw one pitch. When I come out, I’m thinking, ‘What’s this guy going to try to do to me next?’ I’m not walking around just because there’s cameras all over the place and I want my buddies back home to see me. Just tell them to throw the ball. Hey, look. This game has been going on for over 100 years, and the nature of the game – I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to change. That is our nature. Pitch comes through, you come out of the box, you go back in it. But you throw a pitch and stay there, and the pitcher’s going to go right back at it? I don’t know about that.”
—Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, on MLB’s new pace-of-play rules. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports)

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

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