BUD WILL BE FOREVER KNOWN AS 'THE OWNER WHISPERER'
"When we contemplate changes, we have to make sure we do not react to one specific event. We have to get the right perspective of things and long view of things and not make a change because of one play. The Commissioner insists we take a methodical long view of any possible change. We must do it that way to protect the sport."
—Orioles president Andy MacPhail at a meeting of baseball's owners in Arizona.
"Negotiations are always tough. [They] have their players to represent, and I understand that. Rob and his people will do the same thing. The one thing, I guess, which is shockingly different is that there was the anger expressed all the time. Owners were mad at owners. Owners were mad at the union. Everybody was mad at the Commissioner, whoever that was at the time. And you haven't seen or heard of any of that in last five to 10 years. So I think we're on a very constructive path."
—MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
"Certainly other sports have more teams, and I think that's very beneficial. The way the game's gone the last decade, a lot of parity and a really a lot of good jobs by not just the big market teams getting in, I think whatever keeps people in the race and keeps the fans that love their teams with the hope of getting in and maybe another a team or two get in, I think that would be great."
—Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on expanding the playoffs.
"We need to decide what we want to do and then discuss it with the union."
—Selig (Hal Bodley, MLB.com)
THE LEAD BALLOON HAS LANDED ON NEW YORK
"He came in and told us what he wanted to do to get ready for the season and how he wanted to be used during it. That usually goes over like a lead balloon. It turned out he knew exactly what he needed to be the most effective player he could be."
—Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, making an observation about Rafael Soriano after the latter's signing with the Yankees.
"He was the consummate pro. He took the ball every time he was asked, pitched well almost every single time we called on him and on days when I expected he would tell me he couldn't pitch he almost always said, 'whatever you need from me today.' I wish we were the ones signed up for three more years with him."
"It's almost a can't-win for the Yankees. There are so many ways for it to go wrong, and almost no way it can go well, aside from a one-year contribution."
—Anonymous rival executive (Buster Olney, ESPN.com)
YOU CAN BASICALLY IMAGINE THE FACE HE'S MAKING
"I think the numbers speak for themselves. He had a very good year for us."
—Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous, on the arbitration filing of Jose Bautista.
"I think both sides agreed on it, there was no back-and-forth at all, no 'he doesn't deserve this'. They came to an agreement our way, unlike last year when it took to the final hour to sign. So it's good to get it out of the way and really get focused on spring training."
—Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, on avoiding arbitration with the Royals by signing a one-year, $1.4 million agreement.
"It's always exciting – one, the season, spring training, is right around the corner. And you don't know how much, but I think most people that are arbitration-eligible are going to get some kind of raise, which is a nice perk."
—Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen (Jeremy Sandler, National Post)
THEY'VE BEEN READING TOO MANY ANDREW FRIEDMAN PRESS CONFERENCES
"The offseason is a general manager's time to work and impact the team. When you are limited to what you can do, both because of where you are in the cycle and because of economic components, it can be frustrating for a person that cares and wants to make an impact."
—Indians president Mark Shapiro
"Each GM's job is unique in the sense that there are different sets of circumstances associated with each market. Those circumstances can change from year to year. For us, we have to be flexible and able to adapt to the current circumstances and adjust and execute an approach that fits with where we are in our situation."
—New Indians general manager Chris Antonetti
"I want to be able to build and sustain a championship organization that ultimately results in winning a World Series. That's why we do what we do."
—Antonetti (Jordan Bastien, MLB.com)
ACHES, PAINS, AND TOMMY JOHN SURGERY
"I still get a little bit of stiffness every once in a while. I'll take it now and see what happens in spring training. I'll just continue to look after it and take care of it. Those kinds of things linger, like the Cranberries."
—Retro-cool Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, on problems with his ankle. (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)
"I'm at a point now where I've either got to regain form or retire. It's pretty simple. It's not like I'm 25. I'm going to be 35. I have a limited window remaining. Even if things go great, you're talking about another five years, maybe. I look at this as a make-or-break opportunity."
—Cardinals 'outfielder' Lance Berkman (Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I'm saving picking up a baseball until I start throwing it. The closest thing is, I'm doing this finger-strength exercise where I flip a softball. Hopefully, I'll hold a baseball soon."
—Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (Chris Jenkins, San Diego Union-Tribune)
"I don't think his numbers are indicative of the pitcher that he is. I think they're indicative of how he pitched in an injury-riddled season where nothing went his way. We're for the most part throwing out last year and relying on the greater body of evidence going forward."
—Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein on Josh Beckett's 2010 season and 2011 expectations. (Evan Dreilich, MLB.com)
"Being involved in a big-league trade is always a good thing. People are asking me how do I feel about it. Am I upset? I'm not upset at all, because Matt Garza is a very valuable pitcher, and for the Rays to be willing to give him up, they hand-picked five guys who they wanted. They said we're not going to do it unless this deal is exactly what we want, and to be one of those five guys is awesome. It makes you feel great."
—Brand-new Rays prospect Chris Archer, on getting traded from the Cubs. (Roger Mooney, Tampa Tribune)
"It's been very difficult to attract players, and once their wives see it…"
—Athletics owner Lew Wolff, on the team's inability to attract high-profile free agents because of their stadium issues. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
"I get up early, I go to bed late. There's plenty of hours in the day that I get to do the things that I need to do. I'll be very accessible to anyone who needs me here in the city."
—ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine, on taking the position of director of public health and safety in Stamford, Connecticut. (Sunil Joshil, MLB.com)
"It's a story line that people wear out. It's inaccurate and it's unfair. … He's still gaining experience and figuring out how insincere [reporters] really are. We have a good relationship. Good to real good. At its worst, it's good. At its best, it's real good."
—Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on his relationship with center fielder Colby Rasmus. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.