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June 8, 2009
The Week in Quotes
THE LAST OF HIS KIND
"We've seen that 500 home runs has lost some of its luster with what's twirling around that, but 300 wins is 300 wins. You have to spend a fair amount of time in the center of the diamond."
"To me, wins have always outweighed strikeouts, because strikeouts are something that just kind of happen."
"I've had five guys strike me out three times in a game, and he's done it three of those times. To have had some little bit of success off him, I'll always be able to tell my kids that we went toe-to-toe quite a few times, and he won his share and I won my share."
"Nobody has competed harder than he has the last 20 years. He is a really fierce competitor. What he's done to keep himself in shape... a lot of guys quit before they have to because they don't want to pay the price anymore, either to compete or to work hard."
THE 300 CLUB ISN'T ALL GIGGLES AND WHISKEY
"Obviously the money always plays a factor. But that was a secondary factor. If we thought he could help our club, that would not be a factor. When you have seven people watch him and they don't think he can help, money does become a factor."
"I, as the president of the club, could have taken more time to explain not only the circumstances around the decision, although we made that decision in unanimous fashion, but to explain to Tommy our high regard for him."
"I told those guys if you have better options, then tell me you have better options. I have listened the last day and a half about how bad I am, how bad I pitched, and how I can't get anybody out in the big leagues. I've heard all that stuff. I don't agree with it."
"Our evaluation was he would not be successful."
"I've had a couple of phone calls in regards to pitching, I've had a couple of phone calls... in terms of consulting or pitching-coach type of situations. I'm not worried about getting an opportunity to do something. I know I'll be able to do something. That's obviously something I'm going to have to take time to figure out."
HE ALWAYS HAD DIRT ON HIS UNIFORM—I'LL MISS THAT GUY
"There ain't a guy in here who ain't pissed off about it. They might be trying to hide it or whatever, but... hey, you get a guy's loved by everybody, not just in this clubhouse but in the community, who does everything you could want a guy to do, a perfect guy to be a leader."
"It's fine. Heck with it. We're not the GM. We don't run the team. If they feel like it's the best move for three or four years from now, great. Unfortunately, that does me no good. I've still got to be in here telling guys it's going to be fine with Nate gone. Well, you can only do that for so long until guys just kind of... well, they know."
"You make a deal for a player like that, and you'd better get at least one elite guy in return. Who's the guy in this trade? Who is that player?"
"It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure, how much longer till you sink?"
"The players lost a friend, a teammate, and a good player. They might be thinking that we've thrown in the towel, but it's time to turn the page and play baseball. It's time to move on."
"This blindsided me, obviously. Last year, you saw those trades coming. We knew those were going to happen, and that wasn't the case with me. I don't know. As excited as I am for a new venture, I was drafted by the Pirates. This was my 10th year in the organization. There were a lot of people I got to know well. And the toughest part, really, is that I wanted to win here. This organization is such a big part of me."
THE FANS ALSO TOLD ME THAT JEFF BAILEY COULD HIT LIKE A REGULAR, AND LOOK HOW WELL THAT TURNED OUT
"Five, six years ago the fans wanted me to tell you what superstars we would trade for, using all your prospects. A couple years ago, they would tell me what prospects you should promote from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues. Now they want to tell you who to draft."
"I've seen five different mock drafts that see us taking five different people. So I don't take too much stock in them."
"Last year we committed over $6 million dollars to one player because we ultimately felt he was worth that type of investment. There are very few players in the draft this season that we feel are worth anywhere near that type of investment."
TWO DIFFERENT BUT, AHEM, EQUALLY VALID APPROACHES
"We'll stay true to best person on the board. It does give you some leeway with back to back [first-round picks], but we're trying to have impact players with those guys who are available then. We have full support of ownership and organization to secure the best available. It's been a real blessing."
"We have to make a stronger investment and smarter picks in the draft. You've got to invest in young talent. To do that, you need patience, and that's hard for me."
"Our goal was to makes sure our players were seen by every level from every angle, to not be as compartmentalized as in the past."
"From my business training, you want results very quickly. That doesn't always happen in baseball. We spend $4 million to $6 million in the draft every year, but we haven't always made good decisions."
HE'S ALSO PLANNING ON SEEING A NATUROPATH, A CHIROPRACTOR, AND A GYNECOLOGIST
"He had dry eyes on this last trip and he was blinking a couple at-bats. So he went to the trainers... If somebody says something to a trainer, rather than hand him some Visine, we've got great people around, might as well get what works best. And the fact that he's getting it done Monday should tell you right now... this wasn't a really big deal on my radar."
"Just been blinking too much when I've been hitting. That's about it. It's been like that since we got back to begin the year in spring training. I just never paid attention to it because, I don't know, it wasn't part of my attention."
"He has to focus, but above everything be patient and believe in himself so that he gets his confidence back. As a fellow Dominican, I have been very worried about David."
"Just when I try to focus on something. And I focus on hitting. When you've got that blinking thing going on, it just doesn't feel right."
"You're in the new Yankee Stadium. It's absolutely a different stadium. It's kind of nice, actually, because I hated the smell of the old place."
"I hold her, and I have a fully healthy, normal baby, so I've seen what normal is, and I feel for Riley. I think what a strong woman it's going to make her. Nobody's going to be able to tell her she can't do something. If she can get through all this, she can get through everything."
"You don't want to disrespect the guys that are hitting around him now. All I've said is that 500 or 1,000 at-bats from now, any of these guys could be that guy. They're building a career, and they've got some experience. But what you try to do is have guys not be unfairly pressured, and that's the position we're putting guys into. But they tried to make the Matt Holliday deal during the winter. If that guy over there is unreasonable, [then you can't do it]. ... Trying is very important. Doing something stupid is very low on the priority list. I don't want us to do something stupid."
"I think it shows zero class and zero professionalism. When somebody says that, they know what they're saying, and they know it's going to get out. He knows we're not going to be real happy about it. If you go and say that to your buddies, it's one thing. If you go to the media and make that public for us to hear? Yeah, that's no class. You know, if we're as bad as he says we are and we swept them, then what's that make them?"
"It's tough, because number one, he's a position player, and you don't want him to get you out, and number two, you don't know what he's going to throw."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.