FINALLY, CONFIRMATION THAT LARRY LUCCHINO IS ANTI-FAMILY
"I'm a family guy. He told me that they are really tight with kids and family. He told me it's a great organization from top to bottom. I was looking for a place I can hopefully stay the rest of my career."
—Victor Martinez on what Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera told him before he signed a four year, $50 million dollar contract with Detroit as a free agent.
"Wanting to have Victor in the lineup next April is a no-brainer. When you have to make a decision and you're talking $40, $45, $50 million, four years down the road, that's not quite as easy. I respect that…. Theo and those guys, they'll find a way to put a team together that we feel good about it. For all the hoopla last year about not enough offense, and everything, and everybody had a field day with that. We go to spring training and a lot of things went wrong. And we won 89 games; 89 games isn't good enough."
—Red Sox manager Terry Francona on losing Martinez.
"We expect Victor to be in our lineup on a daily basis, serving primarily as our club's designated hitter and catching two to three times a week. He also has the ability to fill in at first base and his versatility allows us to keep a premier bat in our lineup every day. We've discussed this role with Victor and both sides are very pleased with what he brings to the Tigers organization."
—Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski.
"We're disappointed that Martinez is off the board. Now, we're looking at other options."
—Orioles president Andy MacPhail.
"Just because a guy's going to leave, it doesn't mean all those things you meant you don't mean anymore… Just because a guy doesn't come back it doesn't mean we're going to be any good. The winter has to play itself out."
—Francona. (Dale & Holley, WEEI.com)
PRELUDE TO THE MOTHER OF ALL ARBITRATION CASES
"It's awesome to think about where I am at this moment and where I was. There was a 99 percent chance this would never happen and a lot of people would have agreed. There was a 100 percent chance that it wouldn't have happened on my own, but the important thing is I didn't do it on my own. With God, all things are possible."
—Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, on winning the American League Most Valuable Player award after going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation eight times earlier in his career.
"It was a difficult 2009 and quite a bit less difficult in 2010. And I think that's definitely a big reason why I was able to be on the ball field every day and succeed and make progress and feel better about life."
—Reds first baseman Joey Votto, on winning the National League Most Valuable Player award after being on he disabled list because of depression in 2009.
"My relationship with Christ will keep me from being content. I want to be better in all areas of my life. As a competitor and an athlete, the way I'm wired, I want to do better and be the best I can at all times. I work hard at practicing and getting ready for games. I've seen it in players in the past who have all the talent in the world but didn't have the work ethic. The Lord has blessed me with the ability to work as hard as I can to show the talent He gave me to play the game."
"I thought, 'Holy cow, he beat me in a lot of them.' He beat me in runs, he beat me in RBI, home runs — I think a couple others…. Albert is a great player. Myself and Carlos Gonzalez, we're learning how to be major leaguers and trying to establish ourselves. It's very special to have beaten out a guy that is one of the greatest hitters of all time and might go down as one of the greatest players of all time also."
—Votto comparing himself to Albert Pujols.
"Obviously I want to be treated fair. That's what I've always said. It's going to be what it's going to be. I'm not going to sleep over it. I can live on what I get and still help a lot of people. That's why I have an agent. I stay out of it. I get paid to play, I don't get paid to think about getting paid. Whatever happens, happens."
—Hamilton on possible talks concerning a contract extension with the Rangers. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
SOME OF THESE PLAYERS ARE BETTER LOOKING THAN THEIR BOSSES
"As much as we want to keep everybody, we've already made these guys very, very .rich, and I don't feel we owe anybody anything monetarily. Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses."
—Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner on negotiations with Derek Jeter.
"We feel our offer is appropriate and fair. Our primary focus is his on-the-field performance the last couple of years in conjunction with his age, and we have some concerns in that area that need to be addressed in a multi-year deal going forward."
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
"There is no way around it, older players are being looked at differently. But what a lot of people forget is that guys like me and Jeter, we came out at the same time and we are special players. If things need to get done on a baseball field, we get it done. He is still a guy who puts fear into other pitchers. You may get him out, but it's a grind because he keeps competing, and you can't say that about everybody."
—free agent outfielder Johnny Damon.
"All I know is we've had honest, direct dialogue, not through the press like Casey alleged. When he went public with the 'baffled,' we went public with our position. I think it's important that our fans understand where we're coming from. We think this is an important player and we want to move forward with him in a meaningful way."
—Cashman. (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
WHY DIDN'T THE NEW YORK MEDIA ASK ABOUT THE PICTURES HE CLEARLY HAS OF PAUL DEPODESTA?
"You know, my patience over the years now has changed. I'm a lot more patient. And I know that's not a word you like to use in New York too much. That's why I don't use the word rebuilding. I don't think you can rebuild in New York. I think you have to move forward. It was the same with the Dodgers. They didn't talk about rebuilding. They talked about getting better."
—new Mets manager Terry Collins.
"I really thought I won them over. I came out of each interview thinking it had gone better than the one with the Diamondbacks when I got the job there. I knew what was being said, that the other guys were the favorites, but I kept looking at it, thinking I could make them see that I was the best guy for the job. I guess I didn't convince them."
—Wally Backman, who was a candidate for the Mets' manager's job.
"In 1999, we signed one of the best players in the game [Mo Vaughn], and we were supposed to win…. I did a bad job of managing the clubhouse. No question about it. And I'm accountable for that. I was the manager of that team. I should have done a better job of staying on top of it. I didn't. I learned from it. It will never happen – I will guarantee you – it will not happen here."
—Collins, on his time managing the Angels.
"No, I would not say that that was our number one priority. Mission No. 1 is to win. Winning will take care of a lot of other problems. But, at the same time, if you're in the process of trying to get to that ultimate goal, what goes on in the clubhouse and what goes on on the field, just in terms of how the players approach the game, is very important. So, Terry was not hired because he would have an impact on the clubhouse, he was hired because he'll have an impact on the field. But to some extent they go hand-in-hand, but I would say it's about focusing on the field and other things will take care of themselves."
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.
"I was hired by the Diamondbacks out of A ball, so I don't think the level really matters, but maybe in the Mets' eyes I need to go to one of the higher levels. I still hope to manage the Mets at some point but I'm just going year to year at this point. If there is interest from other organizations, I'll have to consider it."
—Backman. (John Harper, New York Daily News)
"We asked as a favor, my mother and I, if they could help us. They never offered me money. Never. We asked for it because I was going to sign in about four months. We thought, 'If they give us that money, we can pay it in four months.'"
—Braves minor leaguer Edward Salcedo, on the $70,000 loan he received from agent Scott Boras. (Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports)
"Two months ago I couldn't have come out and sat for that long and signed. It's come a long ways. It's a lot better. It's not all the way there yet, but it's close."
—Twins first baseman Justin Morneau on an autograph session he was able to complete at Target Field. (Associated Press)
"My wife even says now that she's thankful we went through it. Not wishing it happened, but I think we view life a little bit differently and lean a little bit more on the Lord and not ourselves. Sometimes we all get caught up in our things and think we're invincible, that we have all the time in the world. But now we've gained a little more perspective."
—Twins hitting instructor Riccardo Ingram on surviving a brain tumor. (Kelly Thesier, MLB.com)
"He's so competent in his second career that you'd never expect someone that bright to have been a former player. I can say that as a former player."
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane on agent Casey Close. (Richard Sandomir, The New York Times)
"If I have to talk about Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams anymore, I am going to throw up. Seriously. This game begins and ends with the players and the fans. That's it. All the rest of us are stewards of the game, and caretakers, and that's it.''
—White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.