SWISHER OFFICIALLY WELCOMED INTO TRIBE
"Have you ever seen these guys recruit? When we made our trip here, it was almost a done deal right when we got here. They tugged on my heartstrings. My roots are deep at Ohio State. They hit all the right spots."
—Outfielder Nick Swisher, who, predictably, was all smiles as he met the Cleveland media on Thursday for the first time since signing a four-year, $56-million deal with the Indians, the biggest free-agent contract in club history. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"This is going to be great. It's going to be super exciting. I can't help it. I feel like I'm smiling a lot. I can't wait to get going."
"You don't bring a guy like Terry Francona over here unless you plan on winning. I thought it was a big, big thing when Cleveland brought him over here."
—Swisher, whose interest in signing with Cleveland was piqued when the Indians hired Terry Francona to manage the club.
"It's hard to envision a better fit for our team. He's a switch-hitter, who's equally productive against left-handed and right-handed pitching. He hits good pitching and he plays multiple positions."
—Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, offering a frank appraisal of Swisher’s qualifications.
BERKMAN MOVES TO AL WEST
“In my mind, I was retired. I really felt like I wasn't going to play, and then, as I got further into the offseason, my knee started to feel better, and the Rangers made me a real strong offer. That sort of got my interest piqued and it just kind of went from there.”
—New Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Texas with a vesting option for 2014. (Brian McTaggert, MLB.com)
“I'm not ancient, but I'm certainly older for a ballplayer. It's not unprecedented for guys my age to be extremely productive. I still feel like I can do that, and we'll find out if that's the case or not.”
—Berkman. He had a resurgent season in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 32 games last year, at age 36.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the Astros organization and the way our negotiations went. I understand they’re in a position they have a lot of young players they’d like to get major-league experience, and with the signing of Carlos Pena, that kind of takes care of their DH spot. The fit wasn’t quite right, but I still harbor an extreme amount of good will towards the Astros organization, and I hope to continue that relationship on down the road.”
—Berkman, on the possibility of returning to Houston before he signed in Texas. (McTaggert, MLB.com)
“We talked general range, but they never said ‘Hey, we’ll give you X’. I met with Bo Porter and met with Mr. Crane and talked with Mr. Luhnow several times on the phone. We kind of talked parameters, but it never really got past the tire-kicking phase.”
—Berkman. He had reached out to the Astros in November.
DARREN OLIVER, QUADRAGENARIAN, DEMANDS A RAISE
"The facts are the facts. It's going to take a lot more money for Darren to play in Toronto than play in Texas. We're waiting on the Blue Jays to pay him what he deserves. If not, we have asked them to trade him to Texas if the Rangers are interested. If not he'll ride off into the sunset after a great 19-year career and enjoy his family."
—Left-hander Darren Oliver’s agent, Jeff Frye, relaying his client’s desire to have his contract restructured. Should the Blue Jays refuse, the 42-year-old, who posted a 2.06 ERA over 62 appearances in 2012, will opt to retire. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
“I don’t want to really get into the trade talk; things can happen. As far as restructuring his contract, I would never say never, but his contract is his contract. That’s what we signed him to. I don’t see us doing that.”
—Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who doesn’t seem too keen on the idea of restructuring Oliver’s contract. (Chris Toman, MLB.com)
MIGUEL TEJADA SIGNS WITH ROYALS
"I'm going to try to help this team and their younger players. I'm so happy because this is what I was aiming for, a chance to get back to the majors."
—Tejada, on his role with with the Royals.
"I believe I can be valuable for Kansas City in different facets. They haven't told me what specific role they have in mind for me, but what is important is that I'm healthy and I know that I can help."
“He asked me where my head was and I told him I was ready. I told him I was willing to start and he said they could use me here. The next thing you know they called my agent and it was like, ‘Hey, let’s work something out.’ Millsie was a big part of me getting over there.”
—Brett Myers, on dialogue with Indians third-base coach Brad Mills. Myers signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Cleveland. (Brian McTaggert, MLB.com)
"I think Harrell, Norris and Lyles, it's their job to lose at the top of the rotation. We're talking about the other two spots, and there's lots of competition for it. Humber has obviously got a proven track record, so he'll probably have an edge over the other guys, but Ely had a terrific minor-league season, White has definitely got the stuff, and Keuchel showed last year he can be, at times, competitive. He just needs to improve his consistency."
—Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, on setting his rotation for the season. (Brian McTaggert, MLB.com)
“I don't buy into them much, but I'm not going to lie—it is a little nerve-wracking. We all understand that it's a business and I'm ready for whatever. Whatever happens, happens. I really want to stay where I'm at. It just means there's interest out there, that's all. If someone is willing to acquire you, they obviously really like you.”
—Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel, on trade rumors surrounding him in the crowded Arizona outfield. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
"I am seriously considering pitching again, but have not made a final decision…I’m feeling really good and throwing the ball well."
—Veteran pitcher Javier Vazquez, on a possible return to pitching in 2013. Vazquez, who is currently pitching for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League, last appeared in the majors with the Marlins in 2011. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
Bautsita wants to represent Dominican Republic in WBC but doesn't expect to get clearance. "I'm not too excited about my chances."
— Chris Toman (@Chris_Toman) January 5, 2013
—Bautista is coming back from a wrist injury, and it looks like the Jays will not allow him to participate in the World Baseball Classic in March. (Chris Toman, @Chris_Toman, MLB.com)