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January 22, 2007

The Week in Quotes

January 16-22

by Alex Carnevale

HENDRY'S CHECKBOOK COULD MAKE BASEBALL GREG ODEN'S SINGULAR PASSION

"If I decide to do something else, whether it's football, lacrosse, swimming, whatever it may be, [the bonus] is all going back. That's something I wanted in there because I wanted to show my commitment to this organization, along with the no-trade clause that was built in."
--former Notre Dame football tight end and Cubs SP Jeff Samardzija, on choosing baseball and agreeing on a five-year deal.

"I honestly thought we were going to the NFL. We were already setting up for the [NFL scouting] combine, I was looking forward to going to the Senior Bowl, getting ready to get tickets. But Jeff is so relieved, and I'm relieved and happy for Jeff. I have to admit, though, I was leaning more toward football. It was selfish, but I wanted to go through the whole thing-draft and everything, because he was going to be a first-round pick."
--Sam Samardzija, on his son's decision.

"Ultimately, what gets me up every day is getting guys out at the plate…A lot of money? A little money? It really didn't matter. I've been doing it my whole life for no money, so it really doesn't make any difference."
--Samardzija (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)

LOOK AT BARRY…THE GUY'S NEARING HIS PRIME

"Absolutely. I've got a long way to go in this game as far as learning pitchers, learning more about everything. Guys who have been doing this for 10 years have such an advantage. I have every intention of putting up better numbers every year."
--Pirates 1B Adam LaRoche, who began taking adderall around the time of his surge last season. (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"Honestly, I think the medication stuff was blown out of proportion a little bit. It hasn't hurt at all. How much it's helped, I don't know. What I can say for sure is that, when it came to facing left-handers, the only way I was going to get locked in mechanically was to get at-bats against them. I'm just glad I got that chance."
--LaRoche

ONE MAN'S ABOVE-AVERAGE KILLS ANOTHER MAN'S FANTASY TEAM

"That was above-average for our team. We had a team-wide slump for the last 30 games. If he's my biggest concern for this year, then we're in good shape."
--Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on IF Brandon Phillips, who batted .234/.279/.397 after the All Star Break and still led the team in hits.

"He probably would admit that, this being the first time he played for six months, he probably got a little tired. I don't know exactly what happened -- Griffey got hurt, and that seemed to take protection away for everybody."
--Krivsky, on Phillips.

"We've got a reasonable feeling that because of [Phillips'] age and athleticism, he's got a chance to get better. Last year was a tremendous learning experience for him, and now ... he's got to make the kind of adjustments that all young players have to make. I have every reason to believe he'll make those adjustments."
--Krivsky (Buster Olney, ESPN.com)

KENNY LOFTON NOSTALGIA IS A SERIOUS CONDITION AND SHOULD BE TREATED IMMEDIATELY BY YOUR PHYSICIAN

"But the market bore out what it was going to take…at least from what the agent said and what our sources told us. If I was going to make that kind of deal, I wanted to at least do it with someone who had a track record of being healthy…who loves to play everyday. If you look at his track record, it's pretty consistent."
--Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, on signing CF Juan Pierre.

"The strengths and the weaknesses are there practically every year. He played 162 games a year for the last four years. He has a lot of hits. (He) doesn't hit the ball out of the park much. So you kind of know, that in the case of Juan Pierre, you have as good a feel for what to expect as any other player."
--Colletti. Pierre's PECOTA projection foresees a line of .291/.336/.373 and a .252 EqA.

"I'd rather have a young player competing against his teammates initially for playing time than to give a player a job and ask him to compete against the rest of the league with no safety net."
--Colletti (Baseball Digest Daily)

"He's someone who we believe, and believe strongly, that given the at-bats he'll get as a principal first baseman, 450 or 500 plate appearances or more, he's going to be a real productive offensive player, and a more than adequate defensive player."
--John Schuerholz, Braves GM, on 1B Scott Thorman's role in 2007.

MY SINISTER PLAN REVOLVES AROUND 'THE GUYS IN THE CLUBHOUSE' TELLING MR. MOORE TO SIGN ME TO A 6-YEAR, $96 MILLION CONTRACT. DO MR. CARNEVALE'S BIDDING MINE LITTLE BLUE MINIONS

"What's important to us is accountability. We have 25 guys in that clubhouse, and all we heard was, 'Go get Gil Meche.' We have our players excited. Our fans are excited. And that's who you're accountable for."
--Royals GM Dayton Moore, on signing Gil Meche earlier this offseason. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

"To me, this is the perfect signing for Kansas City."
--Moore

"Everybody in baseball realizes that Gil Meche has an outstanding quality to his pitches. You can talk to people and they'll tell that this guy should win 15-plus games a year. I see this guy entering the prime years of his career. Guys just don't break into the major leagues as a No. 1 or No. 2 starter. Look at Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz. It takes time."
--Moore

"And to get pitchers like that, we'd have to give up Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. We can't afford to give them up. We looked at the free agent market in '07 and '08. We realized that if we're going to do something, we've got to do it now."
--Moore, on his ability to get ace-quality starting pitchers to come to Kansas City.

"If Mike Sweeney is healthy, Zack Greinke comes back and makes 30 starts and Angel Berroa comes back strong defensively and hits .260 or so, we're going to play for something. I don't know what we'll play for, but I do know we won't be out of this thing in May like the past. We're going to have some fun."
--Moore, on the Royals' chances this season.

I GIVE HIM PROPS FOR PICKING UP MARQUES COLSTON, BUT HE'S STILL THE ENEMY

"Even in fantasy football, we were teammates. The competitive juices will be flowing, and we'll always have mutual respect for one another and be great friends, but when we go out together this spring, the information flow will be a whole lot different."
-- Padres GM Kevin Towers, on his departed manager and former AAA catcher Bruce Bochy.

"I think the misnomer was that everybody kept thinking he got fired. He didn't. We would have brought him back. It's just that we weren't going to extend him right away. But certainly he would have been welcomed back. We just gave him the opportunity to get more security for him and his family."
--Towers

"I think it's hard to tell a guy he can talk to the Cubs or you can talk to the Nationals but not to the Giants. It's been my philosophy and (team President Sandy Alderson's) philosophy that we're not opposed to trading within the division. I think it would have been wrong to say, 'You can talk to these clubs and not them.'"
--Towers, on allowing Bochy to talk to the Giants the same way he was permitted to interview with Arizona in the past.

THAT'S ABOUT AS SERIOUSLY AS JAY MARIOTTI'S MOM TAKES HIM

"I'm getting ripped to shreds in Chicago, which is not unfamiliar territory. We will continue to do what we think is best and using the philosophies we believe in. We are still a bit old-fashioned in terms of scouting the player first and the numbers second. So some things we do don't add up in what now is considered the conventional sense. But I can't explain what we're doing without giving away trade secrets. I can very well go out and articulate to our fans and to our media how we make our decisions, but if I do that, we're losing our competitive edge."
--Kenny Williams, White Sox general manager, somewhat on trading Brandon McCarthy to the Rangers for John Danks and Nick Masset.

"It's tough in baseball when you're making a deal, sending a known commodity away and replacing it with people the fan base and the media have never heard of. I understand that. But if we're going to have a chance to have a successful organization and sustain success, these moves were necessary."
--Williams

"Every move we made we wanted to better ourselves or at least give ourselves an equal chance in '07. People in Chicago think we have taken a step backwards from the '06 season. This wasn't about money or penny-pinching. The fact of the matter is we think we're better. We have a young, lights-out bullpen. What gets lost is that without Mr. Masset, the deal never gets done without his inclusion."
--Williams

"Sorry if people don't like what we've done. But I'll be damned if I'm staying pat and in another year or two I have to go out on the market and sign over inflated free agents and reward mediocrity. I don't ever want to be in that position. You do that and let these free agents walk out the door and have nothing to show for them and you lose 90-100 games, that criticism is going to last four or five years. This criticism will last one month, right up to the time spring training starts, when people see how good these kids are."
--Williams

THE REST

"Look, the perfect example of what we're talking about here is the New Orleans Saints. They were 3-13 last year, and on Sunday they're playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. That's how quickly things can turn around in sports, and that's what we're going to look forward to in Chicago this summer with the Cubs."
--Cubs manager Lou Piniella, tempting fate as regards the future of the Chicago Cubs.

"I'm not greedy. It's not that I'm not set [financially]. But you want to be completely set to the point where your son's son doesn't have to do anything, if that's possible."
--Braves CF Andruw Jones (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

"It was hard at the beginning. It wasn't hard about them not having confidence in me. It was just that I wanted it so bad. I want to be out there, getting dirty every day."
--Giants second baseman Kevin Frandsen, on the Giants' resigning Ray Durham.

"When I first came in, [the team] had a budget of zero. After discussions with [ownership] we were able to reallocate some dollars for Latin America. We walked. Now, I think we're jogging. And eventually, we'll be sprinting."
--Nats GM Jim Bowden (Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post)

"But that was my fault, and the scouts. And like I said we had to have somebody. And I hope Neifi'll prove us wrong. I think he'll be much better than what he showed last year because he showed absolutely nothing when he came over."
--Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on Neifi Perez (WDFN)

"I'm tired of hearing you talk about how much you love [Vladimir] Guerrero. That disrespects me."
--Gary Sheffield, to Yankees manager Joe Torre in 2004. This is according to his new memoir. (Ben Shpigel, The New York Times)

"Griffey is very open to doing what he can to be on the field more. He realizes that Kirby Puckett moved and that Cal Ripken moved to third base."
--Reds manager Jerry Narron, on moving Ken Griffey Jr. to a corner next year. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

"In this case, neither party had closure on certain things."
--Brian Sabean, on stalled contract negotiations with Barry Bonds. (Dylan Hernandez, San Jose Mercury News)

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here. You can also find his Football Outsiders work here.

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