July 28, 2008
The Week in Quotes
Week of July 21-27
HE WILL ROLL HIMSELF AWKWARDLY ONTO GRENADES AND/OR BASEBALLS
"I don't have any preferences. I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball."
"I'm tired of them. They're tired of me. If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object."
"That's something that you can't say. He says he's hurting, he's hurting; nobody knows. Sometimes you've got tendonitis in your knee and it doesn't show anything. But if you're hurting, you're hurting. I can't say anything. I know Manny, he plays every day. He's been hurt for a while. They ask me the same thing, 'Is he hurt?' I'm like, 'He tells me that he's hurting. I can't tell you that he's not hurting.' I shouldn't even be saying that. I know. I know he's been hurt for a while. If you ask me, that's what I'm going to tell you. He tells me that he's hurt, and I believe him."
"I'd take a guy that's hitting .500 that's miserable as opposed to a guy that hands out bouquets to his teammates and is hitting a buck-forty-five."
"I'm a ballplayer with more than 500 home runs and almost 2,000 RBIs. I'm a professional. I don't know how anybody can say I could be making it all up."
"The Yankees are getting closer and getting stronger, while we haven't done much. I could say that right now there's a strange atmosphere in our team."
ONE MAN'S BACK OF THE BULLPEN IS ANOTHER MAN'S THIRD STARTER
"We have said from the beginning that we do not aspire to finish .500, we aspire instead to win championships again in Pittsburgh. The trade... demonstrates that we will not forego the opportunity to continue to add the pieces that are necessary to build a championship-level club."
"We have a young man who expects to be successful. He's struggled probably for the first time in his life, struggled with the cold weather and struggled with the expectations of being one of the marquee guys in the New York Yankees system. We feel the young man made a mistake, was disciplined, was remorseful and is ready to move forward."
"If we could have made (a deal) like this last winter to get a player the caliber of Jose Tabata then we would have done it. The one thing I've found in the last few weeks is that prospects have more value than ever. We've asked a lot of teams about a lot of prospects, and been told many times that various prospects are off limits. We were pleased to land a high-end prospect like Tabata."
"Coming into this year, he was probably our highest-ranked position player, even ahead of Austin Jackson. And you're talking four months and he struggled at the upper level at age 19, in his first year at Double-A, where he's playing in terribly cold weather, in a brand-new higher league, and he's one of the youngest players in that league. You have to take a step back and recognize that. And if we feel as strongly as we did four months ago... to me it can't shake your foundation that quickly. And Austin Jackson's passed him up. But you have to give up to get."
"We investigated the situation and did our homework on Jose, and we believe that his makeup is not a problem. He's a young kid who struggled to adjust to a higher level of competition, and that's not all that unusual. What we've learned is he's a player who has a great desire to be an outstanding player, is remorseful for what happened earlier this season and is someone we want in our organization."
"I'm married to a lot of our players. You fall in love with what their potential is going to be."
AT LEAST THE PIRATES HAVE A PLAN
"If anybody thinks we were going to go and get Casey Blake for two non-prospects, they're wrong."
"He's the type of player who doesn't take an at-bat off. He's a great character guy."
"He's been on a winner."
"It won't happen overnight, he won't get four hits or five hits in a game. It will be a little at a time.I hope he continues to get quality at-bats. I see at-bats that encourage me. The double was important, because he had been trying to pull the ball."
"I told [Ethier] to just bear with me. I also told him how proud I am for how far he's come, and just bear with me while I get a feel for how long it's going to take. It can't take a month. We have to make up our minds in smaller increments."
"In Andruw's case, I want to see more of what I've seen some of. Keep in mind, if you go back to the start, Andruw was a huge part because of what he brings to the table and I'm not about to ignore that. We signed the guy for a reason. His experience, being on championship clubs. But he's struggling. That's where the dilemma is for who gets most of the action. If I saw no progress it would be an easier decision to make."
ANOTHER MODEL ORGANIZATION
"I'm just kind of using it just to try to have some contact in that spot, and maybe be able to move some runners and hit and run and that kind of stuff, get some at-bats for some guys. It's not a classic DH spot where we're looking for our DH to give us 25 to 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, that's just not what we are. So I'm fine with it the way it is."
"I'm astonished to tell you the truth when I look up and I see Vidro's average is what it is, because I feel like every time he goes up there I'm very confident that he's going to give us a good at-bat. And for the at-bats that he has, he's knocked in quite a few runs... he's been fairly effective in the way we want to use him."
"It's not a classic DH situation, but I feel good every time he walks up to the plate. The numbers may say otherwise, but I think he's going to give us good at-bats."
BEST TO LET THE MEDIA TELL PITCHERS HOW LONG THEY SHOULD PITCH
"He was very comfortable with the decision. He didn't say anything. If you look back at his history, there have been very few times when he's over 100 pitches. That's not something he's familiar with."
"Complete games are fantastic, but this isn't about trying to be heroes and pitching complete games. It's about trying to get us wins and be as strong as you can every time out. My next start is going to be a big one against Brandon Webb on Thursday, so I need to save those 15 or 20 pitches for them and be as fresh as I can, rather than go out there for the ninth tonight."
"The kids pitch a whole lot less as far as innings. It's pretty well accepted by the coaches-they don't like it because they want to control their pitchers-but I think we'll find out that we have a lot better health with the kids. I haven't seen as many sore arms. Before this, most coaches didn't keep pitch counts. Some kids would throw 120, 130 pitches which is way too much for their arms."
"Believe me, I don't want to take him out in those circumstances. People don't understand how hard that is. It's just that he's a young kid coming off a high pitch count [121 in his previous start], and we want to protect him. I'm not hard-and-fast about pitch counts. There are times when you can stretch guys out. But not that game. Dave [Righetti] and I just decided that was enough."
"There are going to be times when you're going to ask for the ball, but you have to know the situation and what's going on out there. I did everything that I could and at the end, it didn't happen. But that's the way it goes. ... I guarantee you-if I went back out there and I gave up three runs, people are going to say that we made the wrong decision. That's the way it goes. So I'm realistic, and I know exactly what I have to do. And I trust (Manuel) and all my teammates, and I don't go by comments, or what people say."
THE NEPOTISM AT S.U. IS STAGGERING
"This is Steinbrenner University. A lot of quality talent has been spread all over the world. We want to keep that going. That's George Steinbrenner and the Yankees. George has brought winning back."
"We'd like to see him under better conditions and see him back the way he was. I like the old George, the tough guy."
"I want to thank George Steinbrenner. I believe he's the greatest owner of all time. He kept the Yankees the Yankees."
"He's already a Hall of Famer. They just haven't put him in there yet."
"I went out there to get my coach off the field. The only thing I mentioned to the umpire was, 'Why are you so antagonistic?' And that's what he kicked me out for."
"Swings too hard for a second baseman, in my opinion. I think he's having a very good year. I just think he swings too hard. Just hit line drives, gap to gap, and don't swing from your [rear] on every pitch."
"I meant no disrespect to the Red Sox. It was Yankee Stadium. It was a team that I had also played for. It was to honor George Steinbrenner, a man I have great respect for. This wasn't about anything against Boston or the Red Sox. I've always loved my affiliation with the Red Sox. It's where my career began and where I played for many years. But we're in Yankee Stadium and it's also where I played and where I won a championship and Gold Gloves. Hard for me
to believe that people wouldn't understand that."
"I guess I'm lucky. Every time I get a little upset, the team reacts. But I don't want to get a heart attack just to win a game."
"I am 40. We knew this day had to come sometime. I don't like it, but I live with it, because I respect the man that told me."
"Our big bat is going to emerge. I do not think we have to go outside the organization, no. If we keep continuing on this progression, I think we're going to have a lineup closer to '02 than what we saw in '04 and '07."
"[Former White Sox manager] Chuck Tanner would grab you, slam you up against a locker and say, 'What are you doing talking to those guys? They aren't your friends. They're trying to take food off your table.' There was no fraternizing."
"Who do you think they'll want to give up for me now? Joba Chamberlain?"
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.