IS IT REALLY BEST PRACTICE TO STRESS OUT YOUR STONER ACE BEFORE THE SEASON?
“The business side is what we’re scraping at right now. Going to arbitration, everybody knows what can happen and the feelings that can get hurt. I’m just trying to keep an open mind. If anybody knows my flaws, I do. If they’re going to point them out and that has to happen, then whatever. I know I’ve got to get better. I don’t feel like my feelings are hurt.”
–Giants starter Tim Lincecum, on his coming arbitration hearing. The team filed at $8 million, while Lincecum seeks $13 million.
“At some point. something’s going to get figured out. Either way, I try not to have ill feelings about anything. I just try to come out here and the whole purpose is to try to help the team win. It’s not about a grudge match. When it gets finalized, it will be good. I just try to take in what I can in the experience and not be too oblivious to everything but also not getting too involved, either. I let my agent do his job and I’ll just do mine.”
“If they do [bring it up], the one thing I said is I would not let it happen again. It’s part of my past. I’m going to move on. I feel like I’ve made a step forward from it. I’ve become a better person for it. I’ve got to stop making stupid decisions. It’s one of those things it’s time to grow up now.”
-Lincecum, on his arrest for possession of marijuana.
“I’m not going to try to take any ill regard to it at all – try to take it as constructive criticism I suppose.”
-Lincecum, on his arbitration hearing.
“It felt like a typical chill offseason. I don’t do a lot. I’m a homebody.”
GOLF COURSE ARBITRATION WAS DEFINITIVE HERE
“Paul Molitor was out here last week and we were playing golf and we were talking about the same parallels. From the standpoint of ability, homegrown kid, where they are in their careers, those are the kind of guys you build franchises around.”
–John Boggs, Adrian Gonzalez‘ agent, comparing his client to Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
“I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization. As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we won’t put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.”
–Padres CEO Jeff Moorad, on Gonzalez
“I look at that (Minnesota) situation and say, ‘Small market.’ Maybe they’ve got a different owner.”
-Boggs, on the negotiations between the Twins and Joe Mauer on a long-term extension.
“Availability of resources is not the issue. How we choose to deploy our resources is where the focus is.”
“It’s obvious that the circumstances in Minneapolis are ideal. A new stadium is about to be completed. My guess is a new broadcast contract is on the horizon and, from a planning standpoint, it seems that the Twins’ pie will be significantly larger over the next few years in a similar way to where the Padres were with Petco several years back.”
-Moorad, on the financial differences between the Padres and Twins.
“I’m confident that Jed (Hoyer) and John Boggs will have a discussion at some point about Adrian and his future. While I’d be thrilled to have him part of the organization for the long term, the early signals indicate his cost will be greater than our ability to pay.”
-Moorad (Tim Sullivan, San Diego Union-Tribune)
REAL TALK WITH REAL SOURCES
“Sometimes, we ask for too much. Then, the smoke clears and you ask, ‘Where am I?’ And now, I can’t believe anybody is going to offer Damon more than the $14 million and $6 million the Yankees did.”
–Anonymous AL executive, on free agent Johnny Damon‘s eventual destination.
“If you turn them down for that, you deserve one year for $3 million or whatever he is going to get. In February, teams have got guys in place. My feeling is that now he is going to be lucky to get whatever he gets. It’s still supply and demand in this game. And Johnny’s arrow is in the middle or going down.”
-The same anonymous exec, on Damon (Steve Kornacki, MLive.com)
“I’m coming off one of my better years. I feel wherever I go, I’m going to help the team win more games and a great shot to be in the playoffs and win the whole thing.”
-Free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon (Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune)
I THINK WHAT I’M SAYING IS, HIS ARM WILL LITERALLY FALL OFF
“I think I said on the radio at the time, when we drafted Max and gave him a pretty aggressive bonus, people thought we were nuts – and then, when we traded him, people thought we were nuts. He’s a unique talent. He’s a great make-up guy, got a lot better during his time here and has a unique fastball that makes major-league hitters swing and miss. But the ingredients of being a starting pitcher-the pitch development, the pitch efficiency, the projected durability-were questions that are somewhat unanswered at this point. There’s a chance he can clear these hurdles, there’s a chance he can’t. I don’t think it’s unique to Max: it is hard to be a major-league starter and go 200+ innings with quality, and do so consistently. Not many guys do that.”
–Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, on trading pitcher Max Scherzer to the Tigers this winter.
“He broke in and hit left-handed pitching very well, but in recent years, he has struggled. Certainly, there’s a case to be made, he should hit leadoff against right-handed pitching, but you can’t go sub-600 OPS and lead off against left-handed pitching. We’ll have to get a feel for it-and, a lot of times, when creating a lineup, you want to see what kind of bench does that leaves you with, and how you can match-up in-game.”
-Byrnes, on his team’s shortstop, Stephen Drew.
“To the extent that one of the things A.J. lacked was experience, it would ‘throw him into the fire’, and learn a lot of lessons, in the context of a season that was borderline unsalvageable at the point we made the change. The silver lining in it all is that you need to deal with, obviously, 25 players, but more constituents than that to be an effective manager, and in his first go-around, he was very battle-tested.”
-Byrnes on the first season of manager A.J. Hinch.
“I think the degree was maybe a little more than I expected, the ‘nastiness’ of it. I didn’t expect it to be a popular move, but maybe it’s the era we’re in. Guys like Joe Torre and Jim Fregosi, how they entered into the manager’s chair wasn’t totally different, but it was a different era, a different age of scrutiny. And then there’s the timing of it. I just felt that at that point we’d played about a calendar year of sub-standard baseball.”
-Byrnes, on the response to naming Hinch the team’s manager midway through last season. (Jim McLennan, Arizona Snakepit)
A GREAT FRANCHISE DESERVES A GREAT OWNER
“The two trades that Brian did I was really pleased with and very proud of. I think that is going to make a big difference for us.”
-Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, on his team acquiring Javier Vazquez and Curtis Granderson this winter.
“We needed another top-notch starter and got one.”
“I asked him his opinion, and he said, ‘It’s all about pitching.'”
-Steinbrenner, on his long conversations with Derek Jeter.
“We’ll get into all of that eventually. Jeter’s place in Yankee history is obvious, so I think you can pretty much assume from there.”
-Steinbrenner, on Jeter’s next contract. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)
AT EASE GRADY, WE CAN’T ALL BE GREG ODEN
“This is a private matter. I never intended for any of this to get out. I hate to have to put everybody through this, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to come out. It was meant for me and my girlfriend and it just happened to work out the way it did.”
–Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore, on indiscreet photos of him that appeared on the internet earlier this offseason.
“You always have to be careful, but this was something that was stolen out of an e-mail account. It wasn’t like we intended for these pictures to go anywhere. We weren’t flying them anywhere. We weren’t showing them to friends. This was stolen out of an e-mail account.”
“It’ll be a different mindset this year.”
-Sizemore (Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com)
“I saw him a couple of weeks ago and I was like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to call for the ball really loud.’ Because I’m not trying to get ran over by him. I don’t want no part of that.”
–Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer, on outfield prospect Jason Heyward (David O’Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“One of our organization’s three core goals is to be a model franchise in giving back to the community and therefore, we will continue to encourage our players to voluntarily do so.”
–Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch, on new restrictions preventing the Dodgers from forcing players to donate part of their contract to specific charities. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen. He makes every play look easy. You watch a lot of guys make great plays, Cameron doesn’t make a lot of ‘great’ plays because he’s making everything look so easy. He’s going to go out every day and play his butt off. Boston fans are going to take hold and enjoy him.”
–Red Sox utilityman Bill Hall, on new teammate Mike Cameron (John Tomase, Boston Herald)
“You always need your best fielder in right field, and the only guy who really has a chance to do that against the standard of Randy Winn is Schierholtz. Schierholtz can really play right field. There’s no doubt about that.”
-Giants general manager Brian Sabean, on his plan for right field in 2010. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
“We want to be very respectful of Jerry. But we also have to think about the station and our audience. We feel this is a more appropriate role. Jerry would still like to be playing second base for the Yankees. But things change.”
–John Lynch, CEO of the Broadcast Company of Americas, on reducing the role of broadcaster Jerry Coleman in the Padres radio booth to pregame segments and 20-30 home games. (John Maffei, North County Times)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.