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February 17, 2014

The Week in Quotes

February 10-16

by Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller


DEREK JETER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

“I’ve experienced so many defining moments in my career. Winning the World Series as a rookie shortstop, being named the Yankees captain, closing the old and opening the new Yankee Stadium. Through it all, I’ve never stopped chasing the next one. I want to finally stop the chase and take in the world.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, announcing his plans to retire at the end of this season. (David Waldstein, New York Times)

“The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward. So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last.”
—Jeter. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter. Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his—or any—era.”
—Commissioner Bud Selig. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

‘‘I'm excited for him. It’s kind of nice to see him go out on his own terms.”
—Jeter’s agent Casey Close. (Ben Walker, Boston Globe)

‘‘I saw him when he first showed for spring training. I always think about spring training when I think about him, just because he was this 17-year-old kid right out of high school who looked out of place. He was skinny, but he was tough. He’s been winning since the day he got there.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, reflecting on when he first met Jeter. (Ben Walker, Boston Globe)

“For nearly 20 years, there has been no greater ambassador to the game of baseball than Derek Jeter. Day in and day out, on the world’s greatest stage, and through the peaks and valleys of a 162-game schedule, Derek consistently demonstrates awe-inspiring levels of passion, determination and excellence.”
—MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. Clark played with Jeter during the 2004 season. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

A.J. BURNETT SIGNS WITH THE PHILLIES

“A beautiful thing. He's the belated Christmas present and Valentine's Day present that I've been waiting for. A little late, but I'll take it.”
Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, on his team signing Burnett (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

“This is the first time in my career I made a decision that wasn't about A.J. Burnett. It was about my wife. It was about my kids. It was about playing somewhere where I'm at home and can still do what I love. And that feels good. It feels good. It was a no-brainer.”
—Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, on why he signed with Philadelphia (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

“I was thinking he'll just walk in here one day and say, 'I'm here!' But it is what it is. I was kind of surprised. I was hoping he would come back and play with us. But that's how it is. It's baseball.”
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, on his reaction to Burnett signing elsewhere (Jenn Menendez, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“Based on my conversations with A.J. and with his agent, it was driven by proximity to home and the fact he can drive home after any game and be home and be there the next morning. Anything he needs to be home for, proximity is what I've been told. I'm going to take them for their word.”
—Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on why Burnett signed with Philadelphia (Jenn Menendez, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

MARK MULDER UNSURE IF HE’LL RETURN AFTER INJURY

“I heard a loud pop. I fell forward, almost like you slip, and I was confused. I didn’t know what happened. I actually thought my shoe broke. I thought the heel popped off. I stood and lifted my left foot. I put my foot down and had this weird feeling, like the ball of my foot wasn’t attached to my foot.”
—Angels pitcher Mark Mulder, on the moments after rupturing his Achilles tendon. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)

“I have to wait and see what the doctors say, see what the process is, how healthy I can get, how good it feels. There are just so many variables. I’d love to say yes, I will pitch again, but to be honest, I don’t know.”
—Mulder, when asked whether he will attempt to pitch again.

“To have it taken away that quick, it’s hard.”
—Mulder.

“My wife told him in the car that I had gotten hurt and wasn’t going to be pitching and stuff. He didn’t understand it, but I think when he walked in and saw me, he understood it then. I lost it. When he started crying a little bit, I did too. It was tough.”
—Mulder, on the reaction of his six-year-old son, Xander.

TWITTER

—David Price giving out fantasy baseball advice.

THE REST

“Maybe this will be the year I'm not just part of the Wil Myers trade. Maybe I'll get out from his shadow this year.”
—Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who will compete for a spot in the rotation following Jeremy Hellickson’s elbow surgery. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“I think what we conquered last year might be more difficult than defending a title. When you not only have to prove everyone wrong, but possibly prove people real close to the organization wrong, it was like every single game was like a job interview.
—Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, on his attitude toward the 2014 season coming into spring training. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)

“The way I have to approach things now is kind of mentally do the things right. I'm training my body now, training my mind to do certain things while [I] run and cut. ... At the same time, I got to think, 'I can't overdo it'. I don't want to overdo it at this point so close and how far I've come. I don't want to go out there and run the bases or slide or dive for a ball and try to mess this up. ... It's hard. It's hard to hold myself back.”
—Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who reported to camp on Sunday for his first workout. (Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com)

“Hello. My name is Masahiro Tanaka. I am very happy to be a Yankee.”
—Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, at his introductory press conference. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“We were looking for a veteran presence in the bullpen, he does have some experience closing, but this is not a move to displace Bobby Parnell. We signed him to a minor league contract and we’ll see how he throws in spring training.”
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, explaining the decision to sign reliever Jose Valverde to a minor-league contract. (Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News)

“I kind of thought that idea around for the last year. I always told you that when I got to the point where I couldn’t be a top-of-the-line guy, I would retire. I didn’t want to go out there and just pad numbers.”
—Pitcher Roy Oswalt, after announcing his retirement from baseball this week. (Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle)

“It’s been awesome. Last year, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t do a lot of impact stuff. I got a lot of running in (this winter), I feel good. It feels a lot different. I come in, I don’t have to worry about the hip and stuff. It’s been a good offseason.”
—Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli, on how his preparation for this season differs from last season’s, when he was dealing with avascular necrosis of the hip. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)

“I would like to address Albert Pujols' pending defamation lawsuit and re-confirm that I have no knowledge whatsoever that Mr. Pujols has ever used illegal or banned PEDs. I publicly retract my statements that Albert Pujols used such substances. During a heated discussion on air, I misspoke and for that I sincerely apologize.”
—Radio host Jack Clark, in a statement. Pujols has since dropped the lawsuit. (Chicago Tribune)

“I want him to take over and be the same guy who’s been running the ship.”
—Twins acting general manager Rob Antony, commenting on general manager Terry Ryan’s cancer diagnosis. Ryan underwent surgery on Tuesday. (Phil Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“I know what our break-even point is. We’re beyond that at this point in time. Hopefully we have a great year, and we’re able to create a lot of interest with this team, and people show up at the ballpark. And hopefully the gamble pays off economically.”
—Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on the team’s budget for the upcoming year, which will reportedly surpass $90 million. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“Initially we exchanged some things and it was like 'let’s hammer out a one-year deal and then work on it after that. Once we get this hammered out then we can continue to have those talks.”
—Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, on the difficulties of hashing out a multi-year contract. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Me and Jeff [Samardzija] were really, really surprised. It’s sad to see that happen to a guy that’s so well respected around baseball, and especially well respected around the city of Chicago and all the guys in the locker room.”
Chicago Cubs relief pitcher James Russell, on Ryan Dempster announcing that he will be takig at least a year off from baseball due to a neck injury (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“All I can do is increase my value as much as possible, and I think in the end it’s going to help the organization no matter what. Either it helps the organization by keeping me here and proving to them that I’m that guy, or I increase my value and it helps them get prospects in return.”
—Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, on how he feels as a possible trade piece (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“We’re not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. We’ve been a last-place team. We haven’t accomplished our baseball goals. Our business plan, a lot of it’s still in front of us, yet to be executed, and I believe that we’re going to execute on both fronts.”
—Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein, on his view of the Cubs going into 2014 (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“The biggest thing we want him to do is keep his head on line to the target. He has a tendency to pull it off. What we want to do is make sure the head stays on line, and also that when he lands he lands firmly on that left foot, he goes through it as opposed to land and roll off it … All the video we looked at in the past years you can see the steady progression to the roll off.”
—Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, on improving Edinson Volquez’s mechanics (Jenn Menendez, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“I take a lot of pride in getting those pitches for guys. It's hard enough for pitchers to throw strikes anyway. I try to do my best not necessarily framing the ball, but giving the umpire a good look. A lot of catchers will take the ball away. You want to give the umpire a good look. That's all you want to do. I'm not trying to steal strikes. I'm just trying to give the umpire a good look at it."
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on framing pitches (Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Our biggest concern was making sure we tried to keep the player because he was so important to us. Secondly, you just didn't know what the market was going to do. The market never seems to go backward, so that was a concern.”
—Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, on his reasoning when signing Ryan Howard to an extension in 2010 (Bob Brookover, The Inquirer

“I've just got to identify his lead a little better. If I focus on that, then I can kind of gauge how far off the base he is, instead of just playing guesswork. If he's moving, I'm going to know exactly how far off he is when I deliver the pitch, too. ...I think it takes a little while for a lot of guys (to adjust to holding runners as a professional). Because the way college ball and high school is, you really don't have to worry about it. If you pick over, the coach is going to call a sign to throw over. And that's that. So you're just looking for a sign. My situation, I didn't really have much time in the minors to work on the little nuances of pitching. And that was one thing where I just compensated for it by just being really quick to home plate. And big league baserunners, hitters, coaches, they're going to pick up on that. They're just going to cheat and sell out. If I can't even see where they're at, they know I'm going to home plate, so they're gone.”
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, on his efforts to improve preventing runners from stealing bases (Dan Kolko, MASN Sports)

“Technology's crazy. I guess it's pretty easy. I guess you can go down to the hobby store and get one yourself... I'd lose it in a tree.”
—Strasburg, after seeing a drone with a GoPro camera being used by the Nationals production team (Dan Kolko, MASN Sports)

“I had to take (their words) seriously because it wasn't one person telling me, it was my team telling me they know what kind of player I am. They know that what I was in 2011, the way that I was, that I did a great job out there. There was concern (since then) with the gaining weight, but I put it in my mind that I need to grow up, that I need to take my job seriously. That’s what I did.”
—Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, on being inspired by his teammates such as Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, and Matt Cain to get into better shape for this season. (Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News)

“I just want to simplify everything. I want to stand up tall. I want to see the ball a little better. I wasn't striding as much, just so I could get my foot down early and try to recognize pitches. Last year, when you’re going up there and trying to tinker with stuff in the middle of the season, you don't necessarily have the time to fix everything.”
—Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, on tweaking some of his swing mechanics this offseason. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

“I’m not a fourth outfielder. We can cut that off right there. I won’t accept that role. I can't accept that role.”
—Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, on his opinion of the possibility of being a bench player. (Mark Saxon, ESPN.com)

“Usually everyone's expectations are high in spring. I don’t want to throw a number out there. Some had us last year at 52 wins and some at 80. We are in better shape to handle what the season throws out. We are just deeper. You have to pitch to win, and we got better on the mound. I think we are going to be pretty good.”
—Rockies manager Walt Weiss, on the 2014 Rockies. (Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post)

“They’re both bad. I think in my case, I know I didn’t do anything to alter the statistics of baseball. As you know, baseball statistics are sacred. That’s why baseball cards are worth more than football cards, why that Honus Wagner card is going for a couple million bucks, why baseball memorabilia is much more valuable than football or basketball memorabilia. I had nothing to do with altering statistics of baseball, and these guys, that take PEDs -- wouldn't it be nice if you could ask Babe Ruth the same question, or Roger Maris the same question or Hank Aaron, who won't talk about it. I'd like to hear what their response will be because those are the guys who lost their records because of supposedly steroids.”
Pete Rose, on his thoughts on PEDs, and how it compares to gambling on baseball. (Matt Ehalt, ESPN.com)

“The fact of the matter is that the structure of one's pension, and the appeal of that pension to employees, varies greatly depending upon the makeup of your workforce. We have traditionally had defined-benefit pension plans in baseball, but a lot of young people would rather have a defined-contribution plan [401(k)]. So I just don't think it's so simple as to boil it down to there's a bunch of money and they're taking away people's benefits. First of all, I'm going to say again: Nobody has changed any benefits. And it remains to be seen whether or not that's going to happen. And, point two, I think that the motivation to make a change in the pension area in general is driven by the desire to be competitive in their markets and provide the kind of benefits that people want in today's economy.”
—Rob Manfred, MLB’s Chief Operating Officer, on the new policy in regards to pensions in baseball (Adam Rubin, ESPN.com)

“For me personally, if you show up, you’re ready to play, I don’t care what you believe in, who you are, where you’re from, any of that stuff. If you’re going to play hard and you’re going to play with respect, give him a jersey and put him in the locker right next to me. I don’t care. The people that get all bent out of shape about that need a reality check.”
—White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, on the potential situation of an openly gay player in baseball. (Chuck Garfien, CSNChicago.com)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Morris Greenberg is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Morris's other articles. You can contact Morris by clicking here
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here
Nick Wheatley-Schaller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

Related Content:  Quotes,  Major League Baseball,  MLB

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