YOU SEE, FLAGS FLY FOREVER…WHAT’S THAT, NOW?
“I’d like to thank Larry and Paul Dolan for their confidence in my leadership … I’m highly vested here. This is the only place I’ve wanted to work. To my wife and me, Cleveland is home. I remain committed to bringing a championship to Cleveland.”
-Soon-to-be Indians president Mark Shapiro, handing over the baseball operations to assistant general manager Chris Antonetti.
“I hope I can contribute to that by aligning the baseball and business aspects of this organization under a common set of values … This transition allows us to retain one of the brightest minds in our game in Chris Antonetti. Chris has taken the time to be a leader and a good baseball man.”
“What I hope is that I’ll be a resource for Chris. I think our dialogue will be frequent. I’ll be up to date. I’ll ask questions. We’ve always had give and take from the amount of information we process. And we usually come to the same conclusion.”
-Shapiro, on how the decision making process will work.
“I feel I’m ready for this job, but no one can say that until you sit in that chair and make the final decision by yourself.”
-Soon-to-be new Indians GM Chris Antonetti (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
THE BLIND LEADING THE MERELY RICH
“I think that we have to be guided by our baseball people, and our baseball people evaluated, for example, some of our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market. Our baseball people evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff [Wilpon] followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s what they wanted to do.”
–Mets owner Fred Wilpon, on his team’s organizational approach.
“They think that the guys we have will prove to be better guys than some of the guys we would have gotten. Obviously we’re thrilled to have Jason Bay, because he was one of two premier [free-agent] people, and we needed that bat-at least they thought we needed that bat in left field-and so we got that bat. And to see some of the other places, we succeeded or didn’t succeed in getting it, but it wasn’t a matter of money in the sense that’s what their recommendations were.”
-Wilpon on what his baseball people told him.
“I can tell you they said to us, ‘We do not want to go two years on this one,’ or, ‘We don’t want to go five years on this one,’ whatever it might have been, and we said, ‘That’s your call. You got to call that.’ We followed it.”
-Wilpon (Marty Noble, MLB.com)
IF HE GETS A BOOK DEAL, IT’S STRAIGHT TO THE BULLPEN, GLEN
“I was disappointed that he came out in an article in your newspaper and said that ‘I found out that baseball is a business.’ Sure, it’s a business outside with you and your agent, but once you get inside here it is baseball. It’s a kid’s game, I don’t want anyone to forget that and if you bring that other stuff in the clubhouse we’ve got issues.”
–Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on starter Glen Perkins‘ grievance with the club.
“I think spring training and being here kind of forces the issue, which is great. I think we’re all ready to move on. It was a long winter for me. I’m sure it was a long winter for everyone else. I’m just looking forward to moving on and just forgetting about it. I’m just looking forward to what’s to come.”
-Twins starter Glen Perkins, on last year’s injury grievance.
“I’m trying to build a winning baseball team here and win a World Series. And he can be a part of it. All he has to do is leave that other stuff behind and get back to enjoying baseball. And I will tell him that.”
-Gardenhire (La Velle E. Neal III, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
GET THAT MONEY, MAN
“I know deep down inside he would love to play shortstop. but when somebody puts on the table that this is a five-year program and this is a two-year program, I think in reality he just came to the conclusion that the goal is to get to the big leagues.”
–Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly‘s father Pat Kelly, on his son’s decision to give up playing shortstop to turn to the mound full-time.
“He’s a legit XX. When you look at him, he has the appearance now of somebody who is biologically becoming a man. He’s no longer a high schooler on the cusp of being a man.”
-IMG performance specialist Corey Stenstrup on Kelly’s maturity.
“We want the shoulder to bear as little burden as possible. If big shoulders were how you would throw, pitchers would look a lot different.”
-Stenstrup on his approach with Kelly’s right arm. (Doug Fernandes, Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
A CLOSER IS 45 PERCENT MORE LIKELY TO CARRY A FIREARM THAN OTHER MAJOR LEAGUERS
“If you grew up around it, being in the outdoors and stuff, I was taught as a young kid how to respect firearms. First of all, you don’t get stupid with it.”
–Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin, on the message from MLB to the players about never bringing your guns to work.
“You know what? It’s good to make sure people know. If you have a license to carry a gun, people might think it’s OK to bring it in, so they’re telling guys not to bring it in. I’ve never seen a weapon in a major-league clubhouse.”
–Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, on the posted ban.
“I’ve never heard of anybody-not on my team or somewhere else-doing that here. In winter ball (in Latin America), it’s different. They’ve got permission, and they bring it in the locker room and put it in a safe. But here? No.”
-Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez
“Always treat a gun like it’s loaded. That’s what I taught my son and daughters. There’s a place for them.”
-Franklin, on his love of guns. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“I think every team goes through that crossroads. Now you’re hearing Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols. It creates tension in almost any organization because you have to decide. OK, you sign Matt Holliday for $120 million. Do you solve a problem or create a problem? And it’s not always easy. Justin, we’ve worked very hard on the relationship. He’s done his part. What he’s done at his age is Hall of Fame-caliber.”
–Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes on signing his young players to long-term deals in order to avoid free agency. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“He leads in a very quirky way but leads nonetheless. He’s always open to helping the younger players and we look at it this way: several years down the road if he continues at the pace he’s at, we’re going to be talking about Hall of Famer Adam Dunn.”
–Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on first baseman Adam Dunn. (Herald-Tribune)
“He’s the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life. It doesn’t matter what it is-he will find a way to claim he’s better than you at anything. Like brushing your teeth. He’ll find a way to somehow criticize you about your technique and explain how he’s better at it.”
–Royals starter Brian Bannister on Zach Greinke (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)
“I don’t think the age will be a factor, unless you put it in your mind, ‘Oh, I’m 40, I’m 40, I’m 40.’ I feel good. You know, I feel strong. I’m happy, ready to go.”
-Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, on his age 40 season. (Pete Caldera, The Record)
“If we just get our own guys back to what they’re used to doing, that being said, that’s four or five guys, I mean, good players, all kind of had mediocre to bad years all at the same time. We’ve heard [Cubs manager] Lou [Piniella] say that does turn into 10 or 12 more wins no matter what, and that’s what you need to do.”
-Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on the coming season. (ESPN.com)
“Sometimes I get caught up in the grind and I can get quieter just trying to reserve energy and stuff, and maybe I’ll open up more with communication with Tito and teammates. I try to do that anyway. That can help because sometimes you sit there bored, watching.”
-Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, on life as a backup. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I feel normal again. The mound doesn’t feel like I’m in outer space anymore. It feels like I can stay there and be comfortable, and it’s been a while since I could say that.”
-Yankees prospect Andrew Brackman, on feeling different on the mound this year. (Ben Shpigel, The New York Times)
“In a perfect world? Albert Pujols.”
-Indians manager Manny Acta on who he’d like his first baseman to be this season. (Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.