BASEBALL BIDS FAREWELL TO PAIR OF LEGENDS
“Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout, and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles, the club he led to four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series championship. Having known Earl throughout my entire career in the game, I have many fond memories of the Orioles and the Brewers squaring off as American League East rivals. Earl's managerial style proved visionary, as many people in the game adopted his strategy and techniques years later.”
—Commissioner Bud Selig, in a farewell statement to famed Orioles manager Earl Weaver, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. (Marty Noble, MLB.com)
“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”
—Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos, on Weaver’s passing.
“Most of it was just the way he treated people, to see the respect he gave, the courtesy, the care, the sense of humor. That's how he was with everybody. And you think, 'I should be more like that.'”
—Tony La Russa, on Cardinals icon Stan Musial—a 24-time All-Star and first-ballot Hall of Famer—who also passed away on Saturday. He was 92. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)
“Major League Baseball has lost one of its true legends in Stan Musial, a Hall of Famer in every sense and a man who led a great American life. He was the heart and soul of the historic St. Louis Cardinals franchise for generations, and he served his country during World War II. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, Stan's life embodies baseball's unparalleled history and why this game is the national pastime.”
—Selig, in his statement honoring Musial. (Marty Noble, MLB.com)
BOOK TEASER IRKS FRANCONA
“That's not what the book is about. I'm comfortable that when these people take the time to read it through, that it gets put in better perspective. Personally, I'm a little disappointed, but I just have to be patient and hope that people want to read the book. I'm smart enough to know that that's why those things get put out there.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, who was not thrilled with the “misleading“ excerpt Sports Illustrated used to promote his upcoming book entitled Francona: The Red Sox Years, which is set for release on Tuesday. (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)
“If it helps sell them, I'm glad. But at the same time, that's not what the book is basically about.”
—Francona, on the excerpt that illustrated his and then-general manager Theo Epstein’s frustration with “the direction being taken by Boston's ownership prior to the 2011 season.”
“If anybody gets poked at, it's probably me more than anybody. What I'm hoping is it will be taken the right way, and people will take the time to read it and form their own opinions, and not just [go by] what a two-page thing says.”
ATHLETICS, MARINERS, AND NATIONALS COLLABORATE ON DEAL
“High-walk, high-contact, and he started to develop some power. It wasn't that we were really looking for another catcher, but if we were going to get somebody, it wasn't going to be anybody but this guy.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane, on the acquisition of catcher John Jaso from Seattle. Prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen are headed to Washington, as well as a player to be named later. (John Shea and Susan Slusser, SFGate.com)
“I love it out there, and I told [general manager Jack Zduriencik] I always felt I had unfinished business in Seattle. I never got to prove myself completely or be the player I could be or who I am. This is another opportunity for me to show Jack and help this ballclub be the World Series contender that it should be.”
—Michael Morse, who the Nationals sent back to Seattle. Morse originally came through the Mariners system as a shortstop. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)
“I feel good about myself. I have more confidence than anybody. I know a lot of people think Safeco is tough to hit the ball out of. But if you ask me, I can hit the ball out of the Grand Canyon. Safeco's fences are not a problem for me.”
—Morse, firing the first shots at Safeco’s distant fences.
DISPATCHES FROM HOUSTON: CLEMENS, NEW PITCHING INSTRUCTOR
“I know he's going to be a very sought-after person by everyone and there's going to be a pecking order, but I'm hoping at some point to sit down and have some one-on-one time to talk or listen. The guy's pitched in World Series and All-Star Games, and it's not like he hasn't pitched on a big stage. I'd have too many questions. He'd probably make me stop talking.”
—Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart, on Roger Clemens, who will be joining the Astros for minor-league camp and spring training. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)
“He played for so long. It will be good to get some words of wisdom about his mindsets, his workouts. He did a lot of things right and knew what he was doing and took care of himself and pitched a very long time in the big leagues. We're going to get all kinds of information, and we're excited to hear what he has to say.”
—Starter Bud Norris, on Clemens.
"At this point, the plan is to make two trips to Kissimmee to work with our pitchers, and then he'll be available and around during several of the homestands this year … If we feel like we need to send him on assignment to one of our minor-league affiliates or see a pitcher for the draft, he's open to doing that. We'll play it [by] ear, but we expect we'll see Roger in Kissimmee sometime before the end of February."
—Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, on The Rocket’s role with the Astros. (MLB.com)
“He can play all three outfield positions. He’s got a plus-plus arm and plays good defensively. He’s a left-handed power bat. In my time I overlapped with him at the Cardinals, he was a very special player. He had big-time power at Triple-A and got promoted to the big leagues and showed that power there. He’s been inconsistent the last few years, but we really feel like this is a guy we want to take a chance on. He’ll come into camp looking to make the club.”
—Luhnow on Rick Ankiel, who will attend Astros spring training as a non-roster invitee. Luhnow worked in the Cardinals’ front office when Ankiel found his game as a power hitter and center fielder in St. Louis. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)
RANGERS EXTEND MATT HARRISON
“In this industry, if you're able to go out and perform your job, the money is there to be made. I know what it was like growing up and how hard it was on my parents, and now that I've signed this deal, it sets up my family, my daughter for life and any other kids we have. So it's very humbling to be able to do that, and I won't take it lightly.”
—Starter Matt Harrison, who signed a five-year, $55 million contract extension with the Rangers. (Todd Wills, MLB.com)
“Things weren't really going my way. I had a lot of hit-and-miss starts. I had some trouble with thoracic outlet syndrome. We figured that out. The biggest thing is figuring out that mental toughness, that part of the game. The talent was there, just figuring out to use it and how to use in the right way.”
—Harrison. After performing at replacement level his first three years, he has emerged as a reliable rotation starter for Texas.
“This is a person who is a testament to development at the major-league level.”
—Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine.
FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR MCCANN
"Being three months out of surgery, I feel like I'm ahead of schedule … I feel better each day, and I'm very encouraged by the signs that I have received recently. Now that I've had the surgery, I can tell a huge difference with my range of motion and flexibility. This is as free as my shoulder has been for a few years."
—Braves catcher Brian McCann, on the progression of his rehabilitation from his October 16 shoulder surgery. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
"I really don't want to think about my future in that sense … I love it here. It's just where I grew up. I grew up 25 miles north of Turner Field. This is all I've ever known. I love it here … I worry about playing baseball and I worry about trying to be the best at what I do. If I can go out there and play well, then everything else will take care of itself. My number-one goal is to get back to the way I played the first six years of my career and even better than that."
—McCann has high hopes for 2013, which could be his final season donning a Braves uniform. He can become a free agent after the season.
STANTON PREPARED FOR A SHAKY SEASON
"All of the spotlight was on us last year…This year, it will be like all of the other previous years.''
—Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on his expectations for the Fish in 2013. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)
"Yeah, it's tough. You deal with what you got. You realize that's the business side.''
Unless #Astros make an unlikely signing, Bud Norris will be team's highest-paid player in 2013 at $3 million.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) January 18, 2013
—With arbitration nearly concluded, the Astros’ payroll is due to be under $30 million in 2013. (Brian McTaggart, @brianmctaggart, MLB.com)
Stan Musial and Earl Weaver. Two baseball icons. The MLB world will miss gentlemen like you two. R. I. P.
—Baseball lost two legendary figures on Saturday. (Mike Lowell, @mikelowell25)
Beane was happy with Norris/Kottaras tandem and wasn't ever looking to upgrade at catcher – "Only if it was Jaso," he said.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) January 17, 2013
—Jaso, you’re the only one for me! (Jane Lee, @JaneMLB, MLB.com)
Zduriencik after trading Jaso, leaving Montero as only catcher on 40-man: "We're going to be shopping."
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) January 17, 2013
—Incumbent Jesus Montero’s defensive deficiencies behind the plate have been duly noted, and the M’s will be on the lookout for another option behind the plate. (Greg Johns, @GregJohnsMLB, MLB.com)
“Why would we be too old? Too old? Or experienced? Which word do you want to use? I'll go into the spring and see who's there. We’re always full of surprises. You never know what's going to happen. We'll see when we get there how the team looks. It's a long season. I'm pretty sure we're going to be competitive and be right where we need to be.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, dispelling any notion that Yankees are too ‘seasoned’ to contend for a playoff spot. The 38-year-old was just cleared to resume baseball activities after spending months with his right ankle in a walking boot. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)
"If it weren't for the scouts, many good things wouldn't happen at the top … They start at the bottom. They find talent wherever it may be, introduce 'em to the system. Some people emerge who you never thought would be stars. But the scouts, it starts with them. They're not paid like major executives, but they love the game."
—Hall of Famer Dave Winfield on the Hall’s recognition of scouts with an interactive exhibit that will launch this spring. (Barry Bloom, MLB.com)