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January 26, 2009

The Week in Quotes

January 19-25

by Alex Carnevale

FRINGE DID GOOD

"About 20 years ago, I started as a college player, probably a guy who was a fringe player."
-Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent, on his retirement this week.

"For the kids who want to be a baseball player someday, there's a chance that you can play this great game. If you're not the biggest guy, if you're not the fastest guy, even if you're not the smartest guy, you can still play this game."
-Kent

"I didn't expect to be so emotional right now, because I played the game with a business-like attitude. But I think it's just a testament that, deep down, I'm emotionally attached to the game."
-Kent

"I knew it was there, and I won't hide from it, but I'm not going to go out on a soapbox about it. You just adjust. And I made the adjustment without having to cheat the game or myself."
-Kent, on his former teammate, Barry Bonds, taking steroids.

DAVE DOMBROWSKI IS THE PUNCH-DRUNK GM

"Sometimes you go after high-profile guys, and sometimes you try and get not-so-high-profile guys. We've been trying to do both."
-Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, on his off-season strategy.

"There just aren't many perfect clubs out there. Last year, people thought we had that perfect club. There is no perfect club."
-Dombrowski

"I think we'll add somebody who'll do a good job."
-Dombrowski (Lynn Henning, Detroit News)

THE FIRST STEP IS DENIAL

"We're focused on the top line. We feel like we've put together just about the whole team we anticipated we'd be able to put together."
-Reds owner Bob Castellini

"It takes time to build a consistently competitive organization. You can do some things to have instant success, but you can't sustain it. We want to build an organization that sustains success for a long time, and be a club that's in the hunt every year."
-Reds general manager Walt Jocketty

"Our club is built a lot different this year. I'm more concerned with getting guys who will drive in runs and hit in clutch situations. That's more important than finding a home-run hitter. We still have four or five guys who can hit 20 or more home runs in Votto, Bruce, Encarnacion, Phillips, and Gonzalez, and even Hernandez. We have enough power."
-Jocketty

"That's why we're really trying to develop our younger players and really utilize the talent we have in the organization, and add to it with some veteran guys."
-Jocketty (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)

NOLAN RYAN HAS HIS BOOT ON JON'S THROAT

"I do not think a high payroll alone allows you to be a contender, but it does allow you stay at the top of a winning cycle for a little longer, while a couple lower payroll teams are usually there, but they cycle in and out quicker."
-Rangers general manager Jon Daniels

"I do think there is some merit to those talks from the standpoint of competitive balance. That said, we have only had one repeat World Series winner in the last eight years, that team being the Red Sox."
-Daniels

"A good start would be not giving up 900 runs again."
-Daniels (ESPN.com)

HE'S STILL COMPLAINING

"I didn't agree with it then. I can't say I agree now, but at the same time, those aren't my calls. My call is to go out there and prepare to play winning baseball, and that's what I'm going to do."
-Rangers third baseman Michael Young, on moving to the hot corner.

"My biggest thing, what I want to bear down on, are my responsibilities on bunt plays, cut-offs-get accustomed to the fact that I'm not going to be involved in the action. That was one of the reasons why I was so reluctant to move. You've asked me to take less of a leadership role in the infield. I don't know what's going on. I don't know what pitch is coming, what pitchers are shaking to, where catchers are setting up, where hitters are setting up in the box. All that part of the game, I'm out of now. I can't determine who's covering second base on steals, or how to switch things up on hit-and-run situations. All that kind of thing I really enjoyed in playing shortstop, and I don't think there are as many guys as prepared as me to handle those responsibilities, and I don't want to give them up."
-Young

"I'll have conversations with Hank [Blalock]. I'll have conversations with other guys who have moved to third. I'm sure I'll be talking to Chipper [Jones] and Alex [Rodriguez] about third base. Guys who have made the transition from short to third and been successful at it, I'm sure I'll get in their ears. I won't be afraid to play deep. If Gary Sheffield is hitting, I won't be afraid to play in the left-field grass. I'll play deep. I'll play shallow. I'll mix it up."
-Young (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

JANUARY: TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT MAPLE

"You're going to have helicoptering hammers flying directly at the pitchers. I'll bet my company on the fact that you're going to see pitchers not impaled, but knocked out by these things."
-Bat manufacturer Romeo Filip, on the risks posed by MLB recommendations on how to build bats.

"How many bats have you made in your lifetime, Krasik? How many maple, ash, or yellow birch billets have [you] sorted for quality? How many custom orders have you processed and hand delivered to the players? The answer is zero. Zero, like the amount of information you have on bat making."
-Filip, in a letter to Roy Krasik, MLB's point man the on the maple bat controversy.

"We were one of the people they were able to beat. You kick somebody enough times, they're going to fight. But when there are 20 bullies on you, and they're all kicking you in the face, you're gonna stop."
-Filip, on the difficulty of being a lone operator competing with the big bat companies and MLB.

"These people don't deserve us. These entities doing their best to stomp us out don't deserve our ability, our expertise, our loyalty to their players. If they want a bad product and want to threaten the integrity of the game by making it more dangerous, that's on their conscience."
-Filip (Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports)

THE REST

"There was no way of knowing at the time that he would be our next president. The odds, I think, were so long. He was still so new to the political scene, a young, really almost untethered politician. He didn't owe a lot to people. He just said he was committed to serving the country. That's when he started down that road."
-Former outfielder Dave Winfield, on the new US president.

"It's clear that there are a lot of talented players not signed, but hopefully there will be a competitive market that will still develop for these players. I'd be surprised if it didn't develop."
-Donald Fehr, President of the MLB Player's Association, on the legion of unsigned free agents. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

"I know that I deserved what I got, and that 100 percent, I was wrong. I was involved with people that, 100 percent, I shouldn't have been involved with. Those people that I was involved with aren't going to get suspensions from baseball. Those people can get in trouble with the law and the government. My suspension was a lot less harsh of a punishment than they could have received. I definitely learned to choose who I hang around with and who I trust."
-Braves prospect Jordan Schafer, on getting caught for using HGH. (ESPN.com)

"I've heard from some fans about their frustration over the lack of success on the field. One of the things I felt I needed to do when I first came here-and there are some people I haven't quite convinced yet-I had to dispel the notion that we can't win because our league doesn't have a salary cap. That's hogwash. I couldn't say that 10 years ago. But I have evidence that it's hogwash."
-Pirates CEO Frank Coonelly (Murray Chass, MurrayChass.com)

"First, I'd rather live in my world then yours ... is it sunny out today? No you're right, it is 30-something degrees, my girlfriend dumped me, and my car won't start. First, it is not that we stink (unless you ask yourself these questions in the mirror). We make decisions based on scouts, stats, and other information. If we thought Greene was going to hit .213 we would not, I repeat, not make the deal. Go back to your world, and I hope by midsummer you're ready to come out for air."
-Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, during a chat on St. Louis Today. (Bernie Miklasz, STLToday.com)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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