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February 25, 2008

The Week in Quotes

February 18-24

by Alex Carnevale

THEY JUST REPEATED 'HE STRIKES OUT TOO MUCH' TEN TO FIFTEEN TIMES

"It's too fresh in our minds right now to even start dealing with that kind of stuff. This is not the time for us to start discussing the future of Ryan Howard."
--Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro, on Ryan Howard's $10 million victory in arbitration.

"This award could affect the market by tens of millions of dollars. That's $3 million more a year for Prince Fielder, times all his arbitration years. That's $3 million more a year for Hanley Ramirez, times all his arbitration years. Add up all those dollars for all those players, and it becomes an exponential thing that could have a huge impact."
--Anonymous agent

"What this means, is that any future discussion of a long-term deal becomes very difficult for the Phillies, because now there's no map. If they'd lost, then there's a road map that leads them to a multi-year deal, because then the numbers fall in line with what players have made before. Now there's nobody who has made this large a salary at this stage. So there's no map."
--Anonymous source

"That's really not a bad thing for the Phillies--a much better alternative than getting into a long-term contract that, right now, would be off-the-charts. At least going year to year, you're not on the hook for hundreds of millions, and arbitration awards aren't guaranteed. Next year he'll probably go up to $15 million which, for him, will be market value."
--Anonymous baseball exec, on the Phillies' arbitration strategy.

"I really think that if the Phillies had filed above Cabrera's number, that would have made a major difference. At least at that number, even if he'd lost, the arbitrators could have said it's the largest award ever."
--Anonymous source

"Here's the other problem. They just got out from under a bunch of long contracts -- to guys like Burrell and Abreu and Lieberthal. They did sign Utley. But I just don't see them going right back and locking up more guys, when they couldn't wait to get out from under the last batch. And even if they did, Howard's numbers would be larger than any of those guys."
--Anonymous source (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)

HE'S THE TWINS' PROBLEM NOW

"These are exactly the the kind of distractions we were talking about with the Rays, a young guy popping off at the mouth, talking too much. He needs to just shut up and play baseball."
--Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, on the war of verbiage between him and Twins outfielder Delmon Young, traded from the Rays over the winter.

"I was called out by Toby [Hall, former Rays catcher], called out by a couple of guys, but as soon as they left, they were talking bad about the organization. If they're trying to blame us for the way they weren't winning, if it was us two, we weren't there from 1998 to '06, so..."
--Delmon Young, Twins outfielder

"Nobody even mentioned the word losing, losing games. We know we've been a losing franchise. He just wanted to say something back like he's always running his mouth. That's what he does. He runs his mouth all the time. Nobody was blaming him for anything. For him to come back at me was a personal attack. I feel that if there is anything that he is unsure about, tell him I would be more than happy to say it in his face, or any kind of other way, that would make him understand."
--Carl Crawford

"Nobody ever said he was the reason why we lost games. We know that. We said it was a more at-ease environment, which is true. And second of all, I have no problem with coming directly to his face and telling him whatever it is he needs to know. Nobody's waiting till he leaves. Nobody cares about him leaving. For him to say we want to act like Toby Hall and leave, nobody's doing that. Trust me. Me personally? Tell him this is a direct statement from me; I will come say it directly to his face. If he wants to know, if he is not sure about anything, I'll say it directly to his face. I'd be more than happy to say it to his face. Make sure he gets that."
--Crawford

"He always wants to feel like if he can say him and Dukes, he feels protected, that Dukes has his back or something like that."
--Crawford

"Tell them, this is exactly the kind of thing Crawford and the Rays were talking about. It hasn't happened much (in Minnesota yet), but at some point it will and they will see what we were talking about over here."
--Crawford

CASTRO IS GONE...RIGHT?

"This is great news. Friends have told me there's been a big difference (under Raul), and also Raul's comments have indicated they need to make changes, and in fact he's carried out some."
--White Sox starter Jose Contreras, on the political changes in Cuba.

"He plays with people. One day they say Fidel is dead. Everybody celebrates. The next day, he comes on TV and says, 'Hi, Hi.' "
--Twins starter Livan Hernandez

"I view that as fancy makeup. That's a cosmetic change in my book. His title of resigning means nothing to me. Until that country's truly free and can take part in things like a democratic country, for me it's the same. They're just putting a different name on it."
--Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, on the shift in power. (Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today)

RYAN CHURCH AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER SUDDENLY SCREAMS GREAT VALUE

"I've always been humble. I don't ever say, 'I'm the best guy on the team.' I just go out there and play to the best of my ability. And usually, I come out on top."
--Nationals center fielder Lastings Milledge

"I really don't think he was doing it to show anybody up. I really do feel that. I think he was just excited. It was part of why he loves the game. He took a lot of razzing for it."
--Nationals catcher and fellow former Met Paul Lo Duca, on Lastings slapping high fives with the fans after a home run at Shea in 2007.

"We can get along as good as me and my wife-he still has to go out there and perform."
--Nats manager Manny Acta, on his new center fielder. (New York Post)

POSSIBLY BECAUSE YOU'RE IN YOUR EARLY FIFTIES, GARY

"Can you explain why (Miguel) Tejada gets six years, (Vladimir) Guerrero gets five years and I get three? He cost me two years of a contract because he was trying to tarnish my name. The whole year in Atlanta, I had to get the players' association to stop him from writing me threatening letters saying, 'Either you let me do your contract or I'll be forced to sue you.' That's a threat and harassment."
--Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield, on his former agent Scott Boras.

"My family has been trying to get me to walk away for a while now because they don't like the negative stuff that comes my way. I love it. I try to explain it to them, but they think that's some psychotic thing."
--Sheffield

"It ain't going to be pretty. No fine is going to be big enough. No suspension is going to be long enough."
--Sheffield

"It's going to be the ugliest thing you've ever seen because certain people you don't mess with. And I guarantee you, I'm one of them."
--Sheffield (FoxSports.com)

"I've always liked that young man. He's not too happy with his former agent."
--Yankees owner George Steinbrenner this week, on Gary Sheffield

HE ACQUIRED THE INTANGIBLES IN THE OFFSEASON, WE'RE LOOKING INTO HOW IT HAPPENED

"He's got the makeup and he's got the [stuff] to be a closer. He's got all the ingredients to be a closer, and he's now getting the opportunity. Everybody wants to be the closer, and I'm sure now that he has the opportunity to be the everyday closer that he'll take full advantage of it."
--Braves reliever Peter Moylan, on his team's new closer, Rafael Soriano.

"Everybody is going to have it tough. It happens to Mariano Rivera. All I can worry about is going out there and getting people out."
--Soriano

"At end of the day, it gets down to, what do you really want? The last couple of years we've tried to sign him. We've been there a couple times, and things changed when Rivera and Cordero got their deals. We thought Frankie was going to sign, we thought he wanted to sign, and then the numbers changed. There's only so much you can do. He decided to go to arbitration."
--Angels owner Arte Moreno, on the value of Francisco Rodriguez, who lost his arbitration case this week.

"[He] gives you gray hair, makes your heart start jumping. There were a lot of interesting games. He's a heck of a player, fun to watch."
--Moreno (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)

TEAMMATES...GETTING ALONG? SOMETHING IS AWRY

"It made me a little nervous at first to see them. Honestly, it just makes me, well, it makes me want to be here. Those guys, they are not boisterous or loud; they just go out and play. It makes me want to be part of that."
--New Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton

"We respect what he's gone through."
--Rangers shortshop Michael Young

"We're teammates. He said he wants to be part of what's going on here, and we want him to know we want him here…I don't know what he went through, I don't know what he experienced, and all I can do as a teammate is just support him."
--Kinsler (Jamey Newberg, The Newberg Report)

THIS STEINBRENNER BRINGS YOU LOVE

"Look, first of all, I don't hate anybody. It's a useless emotion. It accomplishes nothing. He even said I hate the players, which is certainly not true. We've all had issues with the media, okay, but at the same time, I understand, Hank understands, they're in business just like we're in business."
--Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, in a rare interview, on Bill Madden in the New York media.

"My background in grad school led me to do certain things, like finance, that weren't his strong points. Hank always loved the baseball operations and knew the statistics for every player. We each had our strengths. I know he saw that."
--Hal Steinbrenner, on his brother Hank.

"No, of course not. That would be completely disrespectful."
--Hal Steinbrenner, on only referring to Mr. Steinbrenner as 'George' when speaking to others. (Nate Penn, Gentleman's Quarterly)

THE TORRE MYSTIQUE

"I guess it must be my nose, because people know who I am when I walk down the street."
--Dodgers manager Joe Torre

"The last three years were difficult. I think it started probably with losing to the Red Sox. Because that becomes a mortal sin. And even though the Red Sox were obviously a very good team that year, we got lucky early. They didn't play well. Then we had two leads in Games Four and Give we couldn't hold onto."
--Torre

"I'm sure it took its toll on me, but when you walk into the clubhouse and all of a sudden the players aren't sure what they should say, what they shouldn't say, your coaching staff, that made it doubly uncomfortable for me. I just think over the last few years it was gradually getting to the point of not being a helluva lot of fun."
--Torre

"His demeanor is a kind of soothing, calm, classy approach. I think that works well with a club."
--Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti

"The one thing that I think circumvents everything is the fact that [Joe Girardi] is intelligent and he's got a good deal of common sense."
--Torre, on his replacement. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

'SOOTHING, CALM, CLASSY': THE MAN IS A WALKING XANAX

"[Kemp] has been trumpeted as the heir apparent and a guy with a big upside, and it's all true, but there are certain subtleties and nuances. Andruw was young at one time. He can give a young player the benefit of his experience."
-Joe Torre

"He's really not that old."
--Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp on newcomer Andruw Jones.

"Nomar's experience will certainly play into this thing. There are going to be tough decisions here, and when you have a lot of young players, they can't all play."
--Torre, on playing his young guys.

"We had a quick chat on the field, and the main thing is he wanted me to know what to expect. I've got to listen to a guy with his experience. He pretty much said he wants me to have a day off a week."
--Dodgers catcher Russell Martin (Ken Gurnick,
MLB.com)

THE REST

"When they talk about the good players my name doesn't come up, and that's not right."
--Johnny Damon (George King, New York Post)

"I want to play every day. I think everybody wants to play every day. If you don't, I think there's something wrong with you."
--Coco Crisp (Steve Buckley, Boston Herald)

"What I've said each of the last two years is that when you're looking for somebody dangerous to hit behind [Albert Pujols], Barry was a guy that I thought. And for whatever reason, at the general manager or ownership level, they didn't agree that he would be a guy that they thought we should add. I understand. Organization chart-they're my bosses. That's exactly what happened."
--Tony La Russa, on wanting to sign Barry Bonds. (Matthew Leach, MLB.com)

"I worked six days a week. It kept me out of the nightclubs."
--Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, on his offseason. (George King, New York Post)

"We have two pretty good players. It'll play itself out. They're going to play. They're too good not to play. They're too valuable. We talked about Wily Mo [Pena] last year and how you're going to get him at-bats, and I couldn't figure out how to do that. This will be different."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on the spring training battle between Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury. (Jeff Goldberg, Hartford Courant)

"I've been working on myself a long time, I finally found a breakthrough, and from now on, everybody gets a chance to really see [what] the real Elijah Dukes is like."
--Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes, in his first press conference at Space Coast Stadium at Washington's spring training. (Mark Zuckerman, Washington Times)

"For the first (outing), it wasn't too bad. Whether I start or relieve, I'm going to need them all at some point. We can't all be so gifted to throw a great cutter, so I'll have to do some other things."
--Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

"My quote from earlier today was taken literally. I was not tested nine or 10 times last year. I was just using exaggeration to make a point. My intent was simply to shed light on the fact that the current program being implemented is working, and a reason for that is through frequent testing. I apologize for any confusion I may have caused."
--Alex Rodriguez, in a statement (Peter Abraham, Lo-Hud Yankees Blog)

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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