BARRY ZITO CAN ONCE AGAIN HOLD HIS HEAD HIGH
"He'll be a centerpiece of our ballclub on the field and in the clubhouse. It kind of exemplifies Phase 2 of the Washington Nationals' process. Phase 1 was scouting and development, build the farm system-type of program. We feel like we're well on our way of doing that, and now it's the time to go to the second phase, and really compete for division titles and championships."
–Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, on signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract.
"The dynamics was to certainly be involved in the raising of young players in the organization. And certainly from our perspective with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper being new additions to the franchise."
–Werth's agent Scott Boras.
"A guy who excels offensively, defensively, baserunning, who exhibits five tools: that's the type of player we're looking for. We're so pleased and so proud that the Lerner family has allowed me the resources to go out and get Jayson, and we think he's going to be a big piece of the puzzle."
"Jayson has the ability to play center field and right field. As of today, I think we have him penciled in the middle of the lineup and to play right field, but we're certainly early in the offseason. He has the skills, and the skill set to play multiple positions in the outfield."
–Rizzo. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
JAYSON WERTH'S CONTRACT MADE IT ALL POSSIBLE
"My view is that we have a great player. We're also aware that player is not going to be here in 2012. While we would never minimize the value of the 2011 season, we have to think about the long-term health of the franchise."
–Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, on the proposed trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for three prospects: outfielder Rey Fuentes, starter Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
"Obviously, this has been in the works a long time and it's finally come to fruition. It's a great addition … Hopefully we can retain Beltre too, and maybe put Youk in left. But it probably won't happen."
–Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield on his team acquiring Gonzalez.
"He would be sick in Fenway Park."
–Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Gonzalez.
"But you know, that's not always a good thing. Sometimes you become too locked in on players you know."
–anonymous executive on the familiarity of the Padres front office with the Red Sox farm system. (Buster Olney, ESPN.com)
ONE MAN'S SPENDING HABITS COULD REVIVE THE DENVER ECONOMY
"He is Denver sports. He'll be more visible. Remember, he just turned 26. He's a kid who's just starting his future. There aren't many like him."
–Troy Tulowitzki's agent, Paul Cohen, on the 10-year extension his client contract extension his client signed with the Rockies.
"In our situation, we have to move quickly in these situations. It's about a player trusting a club, and the club trusting a player. His character and commitment represent everything we are about."
–Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd.
"I'm happy for him, man, extremely happy. They don't give out contracts like that in the NBA, extensions to 2020."
–Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, on the Tulowitzki contract.
"Eventually the largesse of the deal made it meaningful to keep going. There are some players who are great players, but very few are leaders. The Rockies know what they have in Tulo."
–Cohen (Troy E. Renck, Denver Post).
IT'S SCARY EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT SPENDING $126 MILLION ON A 32-YEAR OLD OUTFIELDER
"You see the obvious decision. It's a difficult challenge to try to find the revenue to support the payroll, and we are out on a limb a little bit."
–White Sox general manager Kenny Williams after signing Adam Dunn to a four-year deal worth $56 million.
"Knowing that we had one of the three top free agents on our team and we didn't want to re-sign him, it's frustrating for us as players. We're not in the front office. We don't make the decisions, and we don't have to write the checks. But we're getting to the point on our team where we're supposed to wait it out, wait for the young guys, start doing some things and start making some moves. Not only are we ready for that, I think the fans are, as well. We've trusted the front office, and we still trust them. But we want the best possible team on the field."
–Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman before his team signed Jayson Werth.
"Not only is there still room for [Konerko], it would be the perfect fit from our perspective. But we can't get too far ahead of ourselves. The one thing Paul and I talked about at the end of the season was to be respectful of each others' positions and be mindful that there is a process."
"The difficult part of that is you're having dialogue with other people. At the same time, you're hopeful that the guy that you want – and have stated publicly now that you want – matches up time-wise with their process before the player that's next on your list gets scooped up by someone else or puts pressure on you to make a decision on a given day. That's where it's hairy."
DANIELS WILL BE SURGICALLY CROSSING HIS TOES AS WELL AS HIS FINGERS
"I don't want to get into too much detail, but I think in general he enjoyed his time here. I'm not sure we were on his short list before he came here, but he had a good experience. He expressed a like for the community, our players, the organization. Obviously, he was part of something pretty special."
–Rangers general manager Jon Daniels on negotiations with Cliff Lee.
"He's at a pretty unique spot right now in that he's got a tremendous decision to make with a lot of – I don't know how many – but a number of very quality options of which we think we're certainly right there near or at the top of the list."
"I couldn't tell you exactly what is going to go into his decision-making process, but he and his family have a pretty unique opportunity to make a decision for their long-term future. He's going to take his time and make his call."
–Daniels. (Richard Durrett, ESPN.com)
HE DOES MEAN ROD BARAJAS, DOESN'T HE?
"We have seen that Rod can change the game with one swing. He is a veteran catcher who knows how to handle a pitching staff. We are looking forward to having him back with the team next season."
–Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on adding Rod Barajas as his everyday catcher.
"He fits the criteria we laid out for this really well. He has that veteran presence we were seeking, and he's been surrounded by three of the greatest closers of our generation. We're hoping that he can impart that knowledge and also continue to pitch at a high level for us."
–Braves general manager Frank Wren on acquiring Scott Linebrink from the White Sox in a trade for pitching propect Kyle Cofield.
"It was obviously something we had to be convinced he could do. The organization is very excited by this move. It's going to bring a new, positive dynamic to the team… We looked at all our options. We felt like the deal we made earlier in the week [for Ryan Theriot] brings some new energy to the club. Lance's talent, his character and what he brings to club makes us a better team and changes the makeup of the clubhouse. It's a big add."
–Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on signing Lance Berkman to a one-year, $8 million deal as a free agent. (Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
THERE IS AN IDEA OF A LASTINGS MILLEDGE, SOME KIND OF AN ABSTRACTION
"We spent a lot of time analyzing Lastings Milledge as compared with the potential alternatives for the expected role and determined it was worth further exploration of the alternatives. We remain open to continuing dialogue with Lastings."
–Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on non-tendering the outfielder. (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It was basically, 'This is what we're willing to give you.' I just didn't feel it was right and I decided to turn them down…. I felt that, despite the rough year I had, being 27 and being healthy, and taking steps to prevent what happened from happening again, I felt like the contract they were offering me didn't match my expectations, So, I knew then that they were either going to tender me the contract and go through the arbitration process. Or, they were going to non-tender me and let me become a free agent.''
–Pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith, on getting non-tendered by the Mariners after he could not reach a contract agreement with the team. (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
"They told me they are still interested in signing Taylor, but for the first time in his career, Taylor actually will have a choice as to where he plays! For a guy who's been traded twice and picked up on waivers twice, that's a pleasant change."
–Taylor Buchholz's agent David Pasti on his client getting non-tendered by the Red Sox. (Gordon Edes, ESPN.com)
"I can understand people thinking that, but he's not just a slap-the-ball-and-run guy. His home runs are no fluke. He almost hit the back wall of the Trop a few times last year, and he's hit really high, really far homers. He's one of those guys who, if he wanted to hit more home runs, he would."
–Rays manager Joe Maddon, on whether free agent outfielder Carl Crawford lacks power. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)
"My reaction is the same as last year and the year before that. It seems to me almost incomprehensible that ADHD is so pervasive in baseball to a degree that it requires medicine."
–chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List and Methods Committee Gary Wadler on the 108 MLB exemptions for ADHD drugs. (Ronald Blum, Associated Press)
"When you work in this industry and you get a call from Sandy Alderson. It's almost akin to getting a call to public service. It's just something you say 'yes' to."
–Mets head of scouting and player development Paul DePodesta on how he came to work for the club. (Andy McCullough, The Star-Ledger)
"They talked to Fern, they were interested. I really appreciate that. I know there was interest and I respect that. I respect the organization and the front office of the Red Sox. Like I said, I have to thank God and be grateful for that, that they were thinking of me. It was respect. The rivalry we have against each other and the tremendous organization. Just take it in consideration and the Yankees did what they were supposed to do and that's the end of that."
–Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera on a reported offer from the Red Sox to agent Fernando Cuza. (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.