THEN AGAIN, BABE RUTH SLUGGED .700 WHEN HE WAS 36
"There's a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek's significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees' negotiating strategy remains baffling."
–Derek Jeter's agent Casey Close on his frustrations with the Yankees' offer to his client.
"You can't put an age on the heart of an athlete, and Derek's got one of the purest hearts in sports. He's not going to allow himself to have another down year, if he even considers 2010 a down year. His internal drive separates him from others. I've worked with very few people who go after the game like he does."
–Jeter's personal trainer Jason Riley.
"This is a business negotiation. None of us want to make it personal, because it's not personal. Both sides have a lot of respect for one another. My family has a lot of respect for Derek, and I believe it's a mutual thing. It's been a good history. We're going to do our best to keep it by the book."
—Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.
"They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek's total contribution to their franchise."
"Everything he is and who he is gets factored in. But this isn't a licensing deal or commercial rights deal. He's a baseball player. With that said, you can't take away who he is. He brings a lot to the organization and we bring a lot to him. He's a baseball player and we are doing a negotiation with a baseball player. A lot goes into a negotiation with a player. But this isn't the same negotiation as 10 years ago. It is a different time, a different place and a different stage."
—Yankees president Randy Levine (Brian Costello, New York Post)
HE'S SIMPLY JEALOUS OF FELIX'S SUPERIOR PERIPHERALS
"I think the guys that are winning and are helping their team, I think deserve a strong look regardless how good Felix's numbers are. When teams bring guys over, they want them to ultimately, at the end of the day, help them win games."
—NL Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay, before Felix Hernandez as the winner of the AL Cy Young.
"For me, the Cy Young has got to be for the most dominant pitcher in the league – not for the one who wins games. I think I deserve it."
"It's important for every pitcher. But it's not in your hands. My teammates always came to my locker and said, 'You should get it. You did your job.' I think strikeouts, ERA, innings pitched, opponents' average all have to be important."
"I looked at my numbers and said, 'Wow, I think I've got a chance.' My family was saying, 'You're going to get it.' It's a crazy day."
"Do wins count anymore? I don't think they count as much. I think these stats will play into it. I don't like that. Some say wins don't count. Someone wrote recently that Bob Welch shouldn't have won in 1990. He won 27 games."
—Baseball Writers Association secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell. (Murray Chass, MurrayChass.com)
THE TOUGH STREETS OF MEDFORD, OREGON CREATED A MONSTER
"He said I was somebody that shoots from the hip. As I told Jeff, where I grew up in Oregon, it was the guy who threw the first blow usually won the battle. That's kind of my philosophy. I'm not going to let somebody sucker-punch me first."
—Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers on what Padres owner Jeff Moorad told him when he was fired as GM in San Diego.
"I told most of the ballclubs that this is one that's probably going to be a 'win' deal for us. Most of the deals, it's win-win for both sides. The asking price is definitely going to be steep. If someone wants to meet that, we'll have to strongly consider it. If not, we'll keep Justin and move on."
—Towers on possibly trading Justin Upton.
"I do my due diligence, gather all the information that I need, and then I act. I've always said if you're listening to the fans you might as well be in the stands sitting with them. You have to do what you think is right for your organization, what you think will make it a winning-type organization."
"I thought Oliver Perez was going to be an impact pitcher. Turned out he was right."
—Diamondbacks scout Bill Bryk on his disagreement with Towers before Perez was traded from the Padres. (Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic)
THIS COULD HAVE BEEN HARDER TO SWALLOW THAN LEBRON
"If I said I wasn't thinking about military service I'd be lying. But that wasn't the main reason to join the national team. I love baseball and to have the opportunity to use the flag on my shoulders, that made me feel proud of my country and of myself."
—Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who will avoid compulsory military service in South Korea after helping the national team win the gold medal in the Asian Games.
"It's a great relief, for Choo and for all of us too. We are talking about a great player in the prime of his career. I feel happy for Choo, but also for Cleveland because it won't lose one of its best players for a long period of time."
—Indians manager Manny Acta.
"It is something we will explore. He is under club control for the next three years, but we understand his value and hope he will be a Cleveland Indian for a long time. We certainly will try to work through this project with Scott."
—Indians general manager Chris Antonetti on negotiating a long-term extension for Choo with his agent Scott Boras. (Enrique Rojas, ESPN.com)
DOMONIC BROWN DRIVES THE BUS JAYSON WERTH IS LYING UNDER
"I think we can count on the same kind of production he had last year, perhaps a little bit better. He takes care of himself extremely well. He's in great shape. He has the body of a 25 year old."
—Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, on left fielder Raul Ibanez.
"He had a slow start and I talked to our trainers about it a lot. I think coming back from surgery had a toll on his start overall. He was moving much better physically in the outfield at the end of last year, his bat looked quicker, his legs looked stronger. Overall, he didn't have the kind of year that he'd like to have had, but there was pretty significant production there from the middle of the season when he started to turn it on, until the end of the season."
"He was still a pretty productive player and when you look at his numbers, they're not all that different from Jayson's last year. What did he have, 83 RBIs? Jayson had 85. He didn't have as many opportunities as Jayson did to drive in runs. Clearly Jayson had more runs scored and his on-base percentage and stuff were better, but he had 37 doubles and five triples. The difference in their production was not all that great."
—Amaro, comparing Ibanez to Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth, now a free agent. (Jim Salisbury, CSNPhilly.com)
"Early in the season, I was still doing early work every day defensively. I was doing early work, but I wasn't doing any hitting. I was struggling hitting and also struggling at second, so it was kind of tough to weigh both of those out. Everything was going wrong. After that, I started slowing everything down, took a deep breath and everything started to come more easily then. New scenery, the ballparks in Triple-A are easier to hit in than they are in Double-A. I felt I was flying out a lot to the deeper parts in Southern League parks."
—Mariners second base prospect Dustin Ackley on the improvement in his performance at the plate last season. (Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com)
"I have seen him off and on through the years, but just one time in person, maybe two. I've watched tape of him. I haven't had a chance to analyze him completely yet. I know he's a huge part of the pitching staff. It would be nice to get things turned around for him and to get him going. I think he can be a very effective major league pitcher and I think he has been in his career. But I'm not prepared at this time to tell you what were gonna do as far as going forward with him."
—new Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild on A.J. Burnett. (Wallace Matthews, ESPN.com)
"That's one of those things where guys, their first couple times around managing, that's part of the learning process. It's just a different day and age now, where you learn the players are a little bit different than they were 15 or 20 years ago, and [the Anaheim revolt] is probably an isolated case, but in that case hopefully he's learned from it. Look at Joe [Torre], [Jim] Leyland and everybody that has gone on to do it three or four times. You would hope it would go down as a learning experience for Terry."
—anonymous MLB executive on new Mets manager Terry Collins' negative managerial experience with the Angels. (Mike Puma, New York Post)
"We hope to talk in the next three or four weeks. My expectations are it will be easy. I feel they respect Jay, and Jay loves playing there. I don't think Walt Jocketty is a contentious guy. We're open to anything. The team has four years of control with Jay. Anything they choose is reasonable."
—Jay Bruce's agent Matt Sosnick, on negotiating a long-term extension for the Reds right fielder. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
"The market will really determine what it is. Baseball is in great shape, and the Astros are a great franchise. So, we'll let the market determine the price. We're not going to set any price. We'll let people come to us and tell us what they think. The television deal puts it in the class with the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and a handful of others who have their own cable television outlet. It enhances the overall asset. It creates growth and stability on the television side, that otherwise would be dependent on some third-party to deliver for you."
—managing director of Allen & Company Steve Greenberg, whose firm has been retained by Astros owner Drayton McLane to handle the sale of the team. (Chris Duncan, Associated Press)
"I don't know about the city. I can tell you about the Waldorf-Astoria. But I never left the hotel, so I can't tell you how the city was."
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels on the winter meetings in Orlando. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.