YOU HURT THE PRINCE'S FEELINGS AND YOU WILL PAY
"We were just going fastballs in hard. The ball was running away. . . . It's not something that was thought of for months and months."
—Giants starter Barry Zito, after hitting Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder with the first pitch in a spring training game.
"They gotta do what they gotta do. But it's not going to take it away. It's chronicled. . . . That's something I did with me and my teammates. It has nothing to do with them. You're damn right it was worth it."
—Fielder; the pitch was evidently in retaliation for the Brewers' home-plate celebration after a Fielder home run against the Giants last season.
"Everytime somebody does something to me, I'm the one being videotaped, so I'm trying to be a good guy. When kids see me getting crazy … I'm trying to maintain. Unfortunately people like to test it sometimes, but I'm working on it. I'm tired of being the bad guy all the time. I'm trying to work on growing up, I guess."
"I've always said, 'I play the game hard. I run hard. And after that, I don't care what anybody thinks.' If that's what they've gotta do, that's what they've gotta do. Let them hit me once, and if that makes them feel better, that's awesome. Now we can just play baseball."
—Fielder, on Zito's pitch. (Andrew Baggarly, San Jose Mercury-News)
ONE MAN'S PHILOSOPHY OF SUCCESS WENT AWRY SOMEWHERE
"I wouldn't expect the Glass family to employ us if we didn't feel we could win a championship in Kansas City. When is that going to happen? I don't know. We're going to continue to concentrate on getting better each day. And then some day we're going to wake up and be good.''
—Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on the future of the Royals.
I don't feel any more pressure than I always do. We're committed to the plan. I know our plan is working as far as what we're trying to do. I'm confident and continue to stay motivated.''
"I feel good about the progress. I know what we were up against. We knew what our challenges were when we came here. I'm very confident we'll continue to build our farm system.''
BASICALLY, WHATEVER LOWERS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY OWE PUJOLS
"I worry that Field f/x will make defensive evaluation too easy. I'd rather have a harder problem to solve and solve it slightly less well than to have everybody solve it. There's a difference between the search for the truth and the search for a competitive advantage."
—Cardinals assistant general manager John Abbamondi at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference, on the applications of statistical analysis of defense.
"If you are the only club that has pine tar, you have a pretty big advantage. But because everyone has pine tar and it's become a cost of doing business, you're no different competitively if all of us have it or none of us have it."
"Just because we have trouble measuring it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That might be the most important factor. Make, personality, things along those lines — clubs are searching for those answers."
—D'backs director of baseball operations Shiraz Rehman on various intangibles players possess. (Brian MacPherson, ESPN.com)
"We are paying attention to some of that statistical analysis. If there’s data that’s going to help us in finding a flaw in a pitcher’s game and help us fix it, for example – if his flaw is first-pitch strikes, okay. We want to see that data and try to adjust from it, try to get his mindset to where he’s making better pitches. There are things that can help you. But the stuff you’re talking about – projecting where we’ll finish? It’s the same thing I always say – whether they think we’re the best thing since sliced bread or they think we’re a fluke, it doesn’t change what we have to do."
—Angels manager Mike Scioscia (Bill Plunkett, San Francisco Examiner)
SEE PITCHER, BUY PITCHER
"Different ball, different mound size, different pitching rotation, a lot of differences. Sometimes, you miss. Right now, Igawa is in that ‘miss’ category."
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on the five-year deal he signed Kei Igawa to three offseasons ago.
“The ability to get him at a million-two, I thought there was some real value there. And so we tried to put ourselves in a position to take advantage of it. Does it mean it’ll work out? No, but it clearly gives us a deeper pen in a lot of different ways. If we have any injuries, if I have to make a trade in season, I’m going to have to use our pitching to get it. Now we have more pitching."
—Cashman, on adding reliever Chan Ho Park to the Yankees.
"If you ask me what's the best team for 2010, it would be Hughes and Chamberlain both in the bullpen, and have Aceves, or Gaudin, or Mitre take the fifth spot. But is that what's best for this organization as we move forward? No, but these are things that Joe, Dave and I will have to discuss. That doesn't mean the mindset regarding Joba is different. It just means that we've gotta figure this stuff out."
—Cashman (John Harper, New York Daily News)
"I think it’s baloney. I was a player coming off one of my best years. You’re entitled to be a free agent. Going back to New York would have been ideal. But they offered Nick Johnson a contract before me and then they kept listening to the media and rumors that were out there instead of dealing with us personally, and that’s what irks me. That’s part of it, I guess – taking criticism. But I think Scott does a great job. I hope to prove to the other 29 teams that Detroit made the best free agent signing of the offseason."
—Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon, on allegations that Scott Boras botched his contract negotiations. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
"We were watching the movie '300' early in the season. Basically, it's about a small group of guys who are highly trained and they overcome a large group of people. They are outnumbered, but they find a way to stick together and get the job done. They battle to the end, which is kind of the same outlook we have in the bullpen. There are seven of us and we make sure we're ready for anything and feel we can overcome anything."
—Mariners reliever Mark Lowe, on the closeness of his team's bullpen. (Doug Miller, MLB.com)
"I'm not going to take too much out of it. I mean, it's a little bit disrespectful to assume everything was luck last year. I think it's very hard to have a full year in the big leagues and be lucky. But I guess it's on me to show."
—Phillies starter J.A. Happ, on chatter that his breakout season last year was something of a fluke. (David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News)
"I like the proximity. When you look at spring training in Florida, you look at the map of Florida. And when you look at spring training in Arizona, you look at the map of Phoenix."
—Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on his feelings about spring training in Arizona. (Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I'm not a guy who says, 'I'm getting old, so I can't play.' Look what I've done as far as consistency. I've been better from age 30-38 than 24-30."
—Indians spring training invitee Mark Grudzielanek (Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon-Journal)
"As long as he’s healthy and doing good, that’s all you can really ask for. If he’s healthy, throws strikes then he’s very effective. There would be no reason for him to apologize to us. You can’t do anything about injuries. It’s part of the sport. Hopefully he’ll bounce back, have a great year and help us out."
"I wasn't keeping my stamina and energy throughout the season last year like I had before. Last year, I kind of hit a wall. I wasn't fat and out of shape. I just was in a position where I couldn't maintain my energy and my strength level. I could lift and lift with the best of them my size, but by the end of the season, just getting out of bed, you're worn out. You face a starting pitcher who hasn't done anything for four days and you're run down. It's a formula for failure, I decided. By June, I may be back to eating macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and big steaks. Who knows?"
—Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe, on changing his diet. (Associated Press)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.