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August 23, 2010

The Week in Quotes

August 16-22

by Alex Carnevale

IF ONLY BASEBALL HAD A COMMISSIONER

"I'm confident it will only be in place one more year. Because it is just silly, to think the industry operates this way. There's no reason for it. And the worst part? The worst part is we've now institutionalized taking young talent at their prime development age, and now we say, 'Go sit on the shelf for this season.' That's the worst thing of all. It doesn't help the talent. It doesn't help the teams. If nothing else, that law needs to be fixed."
—Nationals president Stan Kasten, on the signing aspect of the draft system.

"It's like traffic lights in the Dominican. I don't know what they're even there for."
Anonymous NL executive, on MLB's slot recommendations for signing bonuses for draft picks.

"I didn't play at all. I took BP and kept my arm strength up and took some fly balls in the outfield. Just trying to get stronger and better in every aspect of my game. Like I said I spent a lot of time with my family. I spent a lot of time with my brother because he's at South Carolina now. That was the biggest thing for me this summer. Just trying to keep my mom's home-cooked meals in me because I'm gonna miss that a lot. I had a lot of fun at the beach."
—Nationals outfielder prospect and No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Harper, on what he did over the summer before signing his contract on August 16. (Nathan Rode, Baseball America)

"Bryce is very advanced for his age — very polished. He has the ability to keep the bat in the strike zone. I think he sees the ball extremely well. He's just very advanced but has a simple approach and that knack for driving the ball the other way already, which tells me how advanced he is at this point."
—Nationals scouting director Kris Kline on Harper.

"The truth is, with a full minute to go, (Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo) and I both thought we were not going to have a deal."
Kasten, on negotiations with Harper's agent, Scott Boras.

"So many things can happen. He can miss time because of injury. He can run out of options. So I know one thing: I'd never do it — give a major league deal to a high school-age kid."
Anonymous NL executive. (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)

SINCE A DREAM DEFERRED EXPLODES, THIS WAS A WISE MOVE

"When you get picked so high, there's not really much else you can do. I think going back and getting a college degree is something I want to do eventually. But right now, I'm taking my dream and running with it."
—Pirates first-round draft pick Jameson Taillon, who signed for a $6.5 million bonus.

"It means a lot to add them. We feel good about the stuff we see in the present day with both these pitchers, but we also feel good about how it projects."
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on signing their top picks, Taillon and fellow pitcher Stetson Allie.

"That's definitely a goal for both of us. Like a Rick Porcello or a Josh Beckett, they're up there by their 21st birthdays. I think it's pretty reasonable to expect that, if I work and can progress the way I think I can."
Taillon on his timeline to the majors. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

CONSIDER ENCLOSING BRYCE IN A PROTECTIVE COCOON

"You're always concerned when your pitcher leaves in the middle of a game. But we're going to see what the MRI says and we'll act accordingly."
Rizzo on the forearm injury suffered by Stephen Strasburg during his start against the Phillies on Saturday.

"You never want to see anybody get injured. I don't know exactly what it was — it looked like he had some sort of discomfort in his arm after he threw the pitch. I hope he has a speedy recovery."
—Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.

"Scary. I guess they said they heard his elbow pop. That's never good, hopefully everything turns out well."
—Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. (Zach Schonbrun, MLB.com)

GETTING HIGH ON CLIFF LEE IS FINE, BUT LET IT STOP THERE

"I don't care how good you are. There will be days when you go out there and things won't go your way. I'm just as high on Cliff Lee from the day we got him as I am today after his outing."
—Rangers manager Ron Washington on Lee's Saturday start against the Orioles in which he gave up eight runs.

"They hit some good pitches and they hit some pitches I left over the plate. I missed my location several times and they made me pay for it. I just want to work deep and keep my team in the game. Obviously I didn't do that."
Lee. (ESPN.com)

EVERY LITTLE THING HE SAYS IS MAGIC

"I think Jermaine Dye did more stuff for the Chicago White Sox than Jim Thome did, with all my respect to Jimbo. What's going on here? I don't get it. Why do people forget about J.D.? People don't even talk about J.D. at all. If Thome was a better player than J.D. for the White Sox, that's the answer."
—manager Ozzie Guillen, on the White Sox taking criticism for allowing Jim Thome to go to the rival Twins as a free agent last winter.

"I'm not afraid. I can care less what people think. We're in second place. When Jim Thome was here, we finished third three times out of four years. We went to one playoff because he hit a home run to go to the playoffs."
Guillen.

"Every time we had Jim Thome here, we couldn't play him against the National League. Why won't anybody give me credit for that one? We won 15 games. And Jimbo had one, two at-bats every time we played those guys. And we made this run because we played good against the National League. We got hot then. But I hope he hits another [expletive] one today. He had all three hits against lefties. Is it my fault we can't pitch against his ass? No. Well ... I feel proud of him, to be honest with you. When I see him hit that out there all the way to the building out there at 98, I don't see that for the last three years with us. Good for him. A lot of people talk about the home run from Jim Thome. How about the eight or nine runs before that? But that's OK. I'll wear it. I'll take it. I'll take the heat."
Guillen. (Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune)

SOMEHOW JOSH BECKETT DESERVES THE BLAME FOR THIS

"I'm not excited. I want to be out there like everyone. I want to be out there and help us win. I think that was part of my problem, getting out there and hurting myself, I guess."
—Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia on returning to the DL for a second time due to a foot injury.

"My instincts tell me the kid was probably a little more sore than he was letting on. Probably for obvious reasons. He wanted to play, and he was catching some heat from a lot of you, all you tough guys, and he's probably a little more tender, maybe more susceptible. Maybe he wasn't. Nobody really knows."
—Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Jacoby Ellsbury's return to the DL with his rib injury.

“I hope I can come back and play. There’s got to be a lot to happen. We’ve got to win to get in the playoffs and then, that’s the greatest thing."
—Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis on whether he's done for the season because of his thumb injury.

"Our main objective now is to let this thing heal. The kid's had a tough year. Pretty unfortunate year. We gotta let it heal. I don't think anybody would write off the season, but it may not happen, so I think we have to be prepared for that. If something good happens, good. But right now is to let this kid get better.''
Francona, on Ellsbury. (Gordon Edes, ESPN.com)

THE REST

"The love of the game still produces goose bumps. That might be my thermometer. Every time there's a good play, the other night when the kid at second base threw the ball to first behind his back, I had goose bumps like it was the first big-league game I'd ever seen. 'I went home thinking, 'Holy mackerel, it's still deep inside of me, this love for the game.' I'm so blessed."
—Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, on his plan to return to the booth for another season. (Beth Harris, Associated Press)

"He helped raise the bar here for this entire organization and for that we’ll be forever thankful."
—Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on the retirement of manager Lou Piniella. (Toni Ginnetti, Chicago Sun-Times)

"It’s a bad combination. You hit a lot of hard balls on the ground and you don’t run very well. It’s inevitable. My strikeouts are down, so I’m getting more contact so the odds are higher for that. It’s one of those things that’s going to happen. Double plays are part of the game. My production is there. You just can’t worry about it. I’ve never been able to run. It just hasn’t been part of my game."
—Royals first baseman Billy Butler on challenging the record for GIDPs in one season. (Daniel Paulling, Kansas City Star)

"It was my gut. My gut feeling telling me. I've always liked challenges. I've always liked when someone says something can't be done."
—Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White, on drafting and signing two-sport star Zach Lee. (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

Related Content:  Jim Thome,  Zach Lee

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