NEW TEAMMATES, OLD TEAMMATES AND RIVALS REACT TO CANO SIGNING
“This is a really big statement. They were trying to make a few runs the last couple years at guys, but they finally closed the door on this one. It shows we want to win and sometimes you have to add a few pieces to do that. Signing Felix last year, [Hisashi] Iwakuma doing what he did, now to get a bat or two — hopefully we can get back Morales or whatever — but it's going to definitely be a different team than the last year or two.”
—Justin Smoak, on the reported 10-year, $240 million deal that the Mariners and free agent Robinson Cano have agreed to. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)
“To sign Cano sends a message to this organization, the fans, the city and the other 29 teams that we're trying to win now and bring a championship back to Seattle. I don't think we're finished. They're trying to bring in more players. It's really exciting to be part of this organization right now and where we're headed.”
“Sounds like a money grab, but (Cano) ain’t going to turn that franchise around. Certainly New York would have been the better place for endorsement deals, but there’s no state (income) tax (in Washington), so that’s a big plus. The Yankees probably figured it’s a better allocation of money – spending on three different players as opposed to one.”
—An anonymous baseball executive, on the Cano signing. (Bill Madden, Mark Feinsand, Anthony McCarron, Christian Red, New York Daily News)
“I’m a fan of his and I’m not going to watch too many games next year because he’ll be out west and that market share is just tough. He’s still on pace to be a Hall of Famer, but I think in New York, those things are well within your grasp. I’m happy he got a great deal, but sad to see him leave New York.”
—Johnny Damon, who was teammates with Cano from 2006 to 2009. (Mark Feinsand, Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
“He’s going to be missed, that’s for sure. Robbie is going to do what he wants to do … We would have liked to have him back in New York, but that’s just the business of the game so he went with it.”
—Yankees reliever David Robertson.
“That’s great news for us. That’s great news. This guy hurt us. He is the guy that, you’re never going to forget about him because he puts up some monster numbers. He puts up some monster numbers.
—Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. (Alex Speier, WEEI.com)
“Well-deserved. Well-deserved. I’m telling you, I knew he was going to get something around that because he’s one of the best players in the game right now and that’s where the best players are at. The way he makes the game look, it’s ridiculous. It’s just impossible. He makes the game look so easy. … Now, we’re not going to be able to see him that much, thank God. He’s going to the West Coast. Wishing him the best. He’s a good friend of mine, and like I said, well deserved.”
“We're really happy. We got the 10 years. (Robinson) loved the Yankees, but now we are switching to the Mariners. We're making Seattle home. He called me about 3 a.m. (Pacific time) and told me the news, and he's very happy… A lot of the Dominican is happy too. I've gotten a lot of calls already, people congratulating me.”
—Jose Cano, father of new Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, on the signing of his son’s megadeal. (Bill Madden, Mark Feinsand, Anthony McCarron, and Christian Red; New York Daily News)
WEDGE, FORMER EMPLOYEES BLAST MARINERS FRONT OFFICE
“I’m no great person, but I do care about the right things. I work hard to do the right thing. And what’s happened here is wrong. What’s happened to the players and coaches here is wrong. What’s happened to this organization is wrong. It’s so wrong. I can’t put it any better than that. At some point in time, somebody’s got to stand up to them.”
—Former Mariners manager Eric Wedge, on the Mariners front office. In a revealing article published on Friday by the Seattle Times, Wedge and other former Mariners officials discussed their experiences with general manager Jack Zduriencik, president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln. (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
“Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job. But Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA. Statistical analysis was foreign to him. But he knew he needed it to get in the door.”
—Former Mariners special assistant Tony Blengino, who claims to have virtually authored Zduriencik’s entire job application when he applied to be Seattle’s general manager in 2008.
“He began operating much like the Wizard of Oz, wielding his power from behind a curtain. Intimidating, manipulating, and pitting people against one another. Berating them for no particular reason. He set out to eliminate any type of disagreement, accumulating yes-men who meekly go along with his program.”
—Blengino, on how Zduriencik began to handle his business after receiving a three-year extension in August of 2011.
“He kept saying more and more stuff about early work, about bullpen (sessions), about our starting pitchers. You can pick anything to death if you want to. But I’m not going to sit there and let him crush our coaches. I said ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this. Shame on you.’ ”
—Wedge, on a conversation prior to the final series of the 2013 season with Zduriencik about coaching issues. Wedge had become increasingly frustrated by demands by the front office this past season such as wanting Felix Hernandez and other starting pitchers to throw live batting practice between starts during September and wanting more early fielding work during the final month of the season despite team trainers warning that the players were too worn out.
“I am aware of some of the comments of former members of our baseball operations group, and I find them unjust, misleading, and one-sided. I don’t believe the airing of ‘dirty laundry’ should take place in the public arena, so I am not going to talk about internal meetings, daily conversations, and personnel decisions.”
—Zduriencik, in response to the accusations.
BILLY BEANE & CO. MAKE IT CLEAR THEY’RE ALL IN
“This is fun. That's why we do the job, to have days like this, and we've always had a pretty fraternal group here. It made for a late night for everyone, but I think we're satisfied with the outcomes. As you can imagine, it was at a pretty frenetic pace, and we're satisfied we were able to pull everything together.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane, after pulling of four separate deals for Scott Kazmir, Jim Johnson, Craig Gentry, Josh Lindblom, and Luke Gregerson within a 24-hour time period. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
“We've never really straddled the fence. We don't have a five-year plan here. We have a year-to-year stadium lease, so how can we have a five-year plan? We have to recognize opportunities when they're there. We've always operated either all in or all out.”
—Beane, on the notion of having a long-term plan. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
“I'm glad to see that they are opening up the pocket books a little bit and spending a little bit more money to take this team to the next level.”
—Third baseman Josh Donaldson. (John Hickey, Oakland Tribune)
“We were counting on Coco to play a lot of games and stay perfectly healthy. We didn't want to put the whole season at risk based on that.”
—Beane, on the acquisition on Craig Gentry. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
“From the other dugout there were always a couple of places where you knew it would be a dogfight, and Oakland was one of those. Those are the type of teams that do well, and there's nothing I'm not used to.”
—Jim Johnson, on how he expects to transition to the Athletics. (John Hickey, Oakland Tribune)
“I remember facing him in Triple-A, and he was throwing 84-86 mph. That's what makes him such a great story. Look at how he's been able to bounce back. Facing him last year when he was with the Indians, he was tough again, throwing a fastball in the mid-90s with sneaky life. He's made it back.”
—Donaldson, on facing his new teammate Scott Kazmir two years ago at Triple-A. (John Hickey, Oakland Tribune)
“I'm setting up guys a lot more and learning how to pitch a lot more. Stuff-wise, I feel like I'm the same pitcher. But as far as approach, I feel like I'm completely different. Delivery-wise, I feel like I'm a lot more crisp, and I'm able to repeat my delivery a lot more. My delivery has become more complete, simpler.”
—Kazmir on the developments he’s made since his time with the Angels. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
YANKEES CONTINUE TO ADD PIECES, BUT IS IT ENOUGH?
“We would have been more concerned if he had a bunch of muscular-type leg injuries. Everyone wants to compare him to (Carl) Crawford, but Crawford is like a fullback. Ellsbury is leaner, and we definitely think he has a chance to age better than most guys.”
—A baseball executive, on Jacoby Ellsbury’s injury history and his future with the Yankees. (John Harper, New York Daily News)
“When Ellsbury slows down, the Yankees will be signing (Mike) Trout anyway.”
—An AL scout, on whether the Yankees will come to regret Ellsbury’s deal. (John Harper, New York Daily News)
“The Yankees have put themselves in a position to have a chance. But it's still—can Sabathia and Kuroda still be viable? Can they bounce back and be anchors?”
—Ex-Yankee Aaron Boone, asserting his belief that the Yankees’ recent signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, do not give the team enough clout to surpass the defending champion Red Sox. (Brendan Kuty, The Star-Ledger)
“I think they’re going to punt that 189 number now.”
—One baseball executive, after the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal on Friday. (Bill Madden, Mark Feinsand, Anthony McCarron, Christian Red, New York Daily News)
BUSY WEEK ON THE HOT STOVE
“I am a huge Curtis Granderson fan, I played with him in the first World Baseball Classic, I played against him, he’s a winner, he has experience winning and that’s huge. I reached out to him at the beginning of the free agency, I wished him good luck and I told him I hoped there was a chance that we could sign him.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright, on the club’s signing of Curtis Granderson. (Andy Martino and Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News)
“We know a lot of common people, and I took the time to do my research beyond just what I knew about him on the surface, and the people I crossed paths with, they absolutely raved about not only Dexter the baseball player, but the man and the person. He's a grounded young man, very astute at what it is he would like to accomplish. He's a great teammate. It's a great acquisition for our ballclub, and I believe he's going to pay huge dividends.”
—Astros manager Bo Porter, on Dexter Fowler, who the club acquired from the Rockies on Tuesday. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)
“Even if I get a little movement on it, it gets it off the barrel. When you’re playing at a ballpark like this (Comerica Park), you can get it off the barrel a little bit and it’s a routine fly ball.”
—Tigers pitcher Joe Nathan, on the changes he’s made to stay effective at his advanced age. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)
“I’m a White Sox for life, and it killed me to see what went on last year, and helping along with that. So it’s tough when I have an opportunity to come back to turn my back on that. (I) can help make it better. … That will make me feel good when I’m gone.”
—White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, after signing a one-year deal to remain with the team. (Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune)
“There were a bunch of teams involved. Not only the Red Sox but some other teams. I was thankful there were some other teams out there. Obviously it’s nice to know that you’re wanted. But in the end it came down to wanting to come to Boston. It’s not every day you get to play for the defending World Series champions.”
—Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who recently signed a one-year deal worth $8.25 million with the Red Sox. (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)
“It’s really about the allocation of resources. And to have a competitive team, you have to have proper balance throughout your club. And this is our intent with the trade: to balance our roster and allocate our resources properly and have a competitive team in 2014.”
—Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, explaining the trade that sent reliever Jim Johnson to the A’s in exchange for second baseman Jemile Weeks. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)
Granderson on meeting with Mets: “We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon."
Wait so you're telling me Fielder is on the Rangers now AND Cano signed with the Mariners?! "SIRI, HOW DO YOU THROW A SLIDER?"
“It's shocking how simple it is. You would think it's something they'd be embarrassed to say or be clandestine about it. But they say they control or own this guy—they use a bunch of different euphemisms—and they want a ransom. They came up with an asking price. It was almost like going on eBay or Amazon.com. It was a buy-it-now price, and you're buying human beings.”
—Joe Kehoskie, a former agent to Cuban players who now works as a consultant, on how kidnappers would auction off Cuban defectors to prospective agents. On Wednesday, the U.S. attorney’s office charged three people with conspiracy to smuggle, kidnap and extort Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin three years ago. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo!)
“He had the best numbers of the returners. I didn't really think of him doing that. But we were like, 'OK, let's try it with this guy, that guy,' and next thing you know, everybody wants to try it. Joe steps up and throws, and it's like, 'Wow, that's actually pretty good.'”
—Wright State coach Greg Lovelady, on asking for someone on his pitching staff to volunteer to pitch sidearm in 2004. At the time, now-Angels reliever Joe Smith volunteered as a joke but stuck with new arm slot after seeing an uptick in velocity. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“The most overarching comment that I always make when asked about specific players is … that our goal is to be as good as we can be in 2014 and be as well-positioned as possible to sustain that success into the future. Certain players make that much more difficult than others, and so it's just something that we weigh and balance in everything we do every day of the year.”
—Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman, when asked whether ace David Price will be traded in the near future. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)
“Every time I'm on Twitter, I think I've been linked to every team — the Dallas Cowboys, to your dad's adult softball team. It's kind of been every team from top to bottom, but it's something you can't really dwell on, because if you focus on that, you're going to spend your time worrying about something you have no control over.”
—Oakland pitcher Brett Anderson on trade speculation. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)