January 21, 2008
The Week in Quotes
"I'm not going to play left field. I can't argue with my boss. If he says play left field, I play left field. I just told him I feel more comfortable in right field, that's my natural position and the arm that I have and stuff. Not to disrespect Teahen or anybody, but I'm here to win and to do anything they ask me to do. That's the main thing."
"Trey will make the decision as to who plays and where they play."
"I think the switch from right to left would be a heck of a lot easier than the switch from third to right. So whatever happens, happens. It's just kind of out of my control."
"As a veteran, I've played long enough at one position and I just wanted him to understand the situation. I've just got to be prepared for anything. He's the boss and I've got to do what he tells me to do."
"My original plan was probably to put Jose in left and leave Teahen alone because he was already in the conversion. But there was also a possibility on any given day of a four-spot rotation of left, right, first base, DH. So if you can lessen that, which we can if we put Jose in right, then we eliminate the possibility of a four-position rotation and it cuts it down to three."
"That'd be kind of hard to do if I'm in left. But anything is doable."
NOT A BIOLOGY MAJOR, WERE YOU THERE MIKE?
"Ninety-three percent is 70 guys. That's almost three whole rosters."
"You're destroying someone's reputation. What if one of the false positives is Cal Ripken? Doesn't it put a black mark on his career?"
"I don't know Shawne Merriman. I don't know Rodney Harrison. But nothing was made of it."
GROSS ANATOMY OF A DEAL
"We knew that Troy wasn't real comfortable on the turf. He'd mentioned that to me and he was looking to probably find a way to get out of here if he could. And we knew that he wasn't going to pick up his player option going into next year."
"Obviously we would have reaped the benefits of two draft picks, but we knew we would have had a major hole from an offensive standpoint and a position. And right now we don't have anybody in the system that's ready to step in and take that. So we would have been on the free agent market out there looking for a guy and we looked at the free agent market. It was not good going into '09."
"There's a lot being made of the operations, which, you know, there should be. But I think if you understand the operations: the first one didn't go as well as it probably should have. The second one was to maybe repair some of the stuff that wasn't on the first one. The third one was really a cleanup, so the cleanup really was just scar tissue that gets built up. It's kind of like getting your knee 'scoped. His range of motion is great--actually our doctors told us his left shoulder has more mobility and flexibility and strength than his right shoulder."
"(Rolen and Eckstein) bring to the table a little bit more of a 'grind it out' approach, both as players and makeup. I think when you play against the Yankees and the Red Sox you have to look for every edge you can possibly get to close that gap."
FINALLY, AN OFF-SEASON TRAINING PARTNERSHIP TO ROOT FOR
"I told him whatever race he would do, I would beat him. He found that pretty funny, and after that [he] said all right, lets go run."
"I'm very private about my workouts, and he's really the first kid in 10 years that has joined me like this."
"He might be one of the greatest players of all time. I said I need to get a hold of this guy somehow."
"When Yonder finally got the nerve to go over there, his grin was from ear-to-ear. [Alex] said, 'Why don't you come and join me?' Yonder just froze. He said to Alex, 'I can't do it because I have practice.' Alex said, 'Let's start Monday.' They've been hip-to-hip ever since."
"I want him to use me as a measuring stick. I know when I was his age I would be around major league players, and it did wonders for me... I'm sure we all have dreams. He can never beat me. He pushes me."
"I was honest, and he saw that. I was willing to work and willing to go all-out and not willing to quit. I was a workaholic. I'm like him."
BAD LUCK IS THE RESIDUE OF DESIGN...AGAIN
"I would say he'll be leading off. If something unforeseen happens as far as a trade or something, it could change that. But outside of that, no. The way our team is put together, he'll be leading off."
"Two years ago I made the adjustment to play from second to left. If I have to make an adjustment from batting first to batting fifth, I'll make the adjustment. The first at-bat is the only one I lead off. In the third inning, I'm batting sometimes with two outs, sometimes with the bases loaded. I think it's only the first at-bat that matters. After that it's just a regular at-bat."
"It's not going to be easy. It's going from 70 innings a year to 200--hopefully, 220 or so. The most important thing is, my arm feels good. It's a little bit different, but at the same time, it's building up endurance and hopefully being ready to go right out of the gate."
"Now I can go out there and not be afraid to give up a run, because it's not going to mean the game. You can be a starter and give up three runs in the first, and go six more innings and everybody talks about the great job you did. If you're closing, you give up one run and sometimes they want to run you out."
"This year will be so much easier for me. We know our personnel. We know what we have to do. We don't have to experiment or change the lineups like we did for six weeks until we finally got into a rhythm."
"Coming out of spring training, that should come fairly automatic. I don't know where to hit Fukudome, I don't know if it's second or fifth, so we have to look at that. Outside of that, I think we'll get a little help in the outfield, there's a possibility of that."
WHO SMELLS A RAYS-CUBBIES FALL CLASSIC?
"The goal is to get the organization to a place where we feel coming in we should win 80-something games, and if things break right you win 8-10 more and if things break badly you win 10 less. We're pretty much there. Being in a position to win 65 with the chance to win 75 is not acceptable."
"We're trying to reverse the image of the Rays organization in the industry. Our goal is to become a destination spot where players want to play and people want to work. We've made quantum leaps, but we still have a lot of work to do."
"There's good things going on. You're going to keep seeing players wanting to be here. There's something in the clubhouse. It's alluring. It's contagious. It's good. I think people are going to be attracted to that."
"Sure. Definitely. I'm really liking the moves we've made and feel like we're taking the right steps. I'm excited. I talked to a couple other players and we're all excited."
ON THE OTHER HAND, HE CAN PROBABLY OUTHIT JUAN PIERRE
"He could go out and hit .320. But if he doesn't, it's hard to get players once the season starts. You can't get anybody at that time."
"It's not that we're down on Tony. He's going to be a good major league player. The fact that we signed Cameron to a one-year deal with an option is an indication we still feel Tony is a major league player."
"I've always been a believer in development at the big-league level. We did it with J.J. Hardy. We did it with Rickie Weeks when everybody said, 'Get him out of here.' But we have this period of time (to win), and we're just a little more reluctant to roll the dice with a younger player."
YOUR OBLIGATORY CHATTER ABOUT THE GREAT JOHAN
"We're not locking ourselves into anything. Right now Johan Santana's our Opening Day starter and I like our chances. I keep saying that. If he's our Opening Day starter, I like our chances."
"I love Melky, but he would play every day in Minnesota, so if there's a deal it's probably going to be great for him. I'm going to be happy for him, that's what I told him."
"If they get Santana, they're going to be a way better team. But I hope we get him. It's not a good [thing] for us if they get Santana."
"It's like I tell him--don't pay attention to the rumors. If you get traded, just keep playing. He wants to be a Yankee; he said he doesn't want to leave. I told him, 'If you have to leave, keep playing hard. You never know. You might come back.'"
"We tried to study how successful minor league programs in other sports, especially baseball, had used it. The trip to Cleveland was really empowering for us."
"With Delmon Young in right and Jason Kubel in left, I'm going to talk to Cuddy about it."
"They were never as close as they were made out to be. They just sort of went along with it in the media, because it was a good story."
"I just got some new shoes and I know that there's either two goals in those shoes or a torn ACL."
"You want to be where you're comfortable. I hated third base. I don't think (Braun) was a big fan of it, either. He's athletic, so I think he'll be fine in the outfield."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.