TANAKA SIGNS WITH THE YANKEES
“I think he's used to every little bit of his life being reported on, or tried to be reported on. So that part of it, I don't think there is going to be any problem with. I know a lot of guys [in Japan] spend a lot of time in Tokyo. I know Tokyo isn't quite New York, but it's about as close as you're going to get. That's a pretty wild spot, too. I think he will actually be more comfortable in New York, where he kind of blends in. Of course, the baseball fans will pick him out, but not everybody is going to know who he is immediately.”
—Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee, a former teammate of Masahiro Tanaka in Japan, on Tanaka’s ability to adjust to playing in New York City (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“The whole country is watching him, and he performs. I think his professionalism and how he remains very humble throughout speaks volumes about him as a person. I think he’ll make a great fit with the Yankees. Good man and a good teammate.”
—Rakuten pitcher and former Yankee Darrell Rasner, on Tanaka. (Christian Red, New York Daily News)
“Our team has been known to make financial commitments to a lot of people throughout the course of the year. Anytime you have ownership that’s willing to spend money and trying to do whatever they can to make the team better, it feels good for us as players.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on the signing of Tanaka. (Anthony McCarronn, New York Daily News)
“Most people will say, ‘He belongs on the Yankees, he’s our best player in Japan and the Yankees are America’s most popular team. Tanaka’s problem is he’s not accustomed to major league power, and he can’t throw a 95-mph fastball by those guys. He’s going to get tagged quite a bit, I think. It’s going to take him a while to make the adjustment. He’s going to have to learn to use his repertoire in the most effective way. I think he’ll have a rocky start. His fastball is not fast enough to blow it by Americans.”
—Robert Whiting, a journalist and author of several books on Japanese baseball.
HARVEY OPTIMISTIC FOR SEPTEMBER RETURN
“It's great. I think I'm just over three months out, and I can't believe it's gone by so fast," said Harvey, who underwent the surgery in October. "Everything is going well. I haven't had the slightest setback. I'm itching to get back out and pick up a baseball again. Whatever the doc says, I've got to follow those rules.”
—Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, on how his recovery from Tommy John surgery has gone. (Ian Browne, MLB.com)
“Before I decided to go with surgery, I wanted to make sure I was mentally prepared, just fully committed in my decision. My mom was down there during the surgery, the last time I was in the hospital was when I was born. This was definitely a tough decision and I wanted to make sure everything was perfect.”
—Harvey, on the difficulties of electing to have surgery done. (Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News)
“I'd like to shoot for being out there in September. Obviously I don't make those decisions. I can only prepare to the best of my ability and make sure I'm in good strength and flexibility, and when they do let me go, I'm good to go.”
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES CHOOSE LOGOS (OR LACK THEREOF) FOR HOF PLAQUES
“My wife Kathy and I grew up in baseball in Chicago, and then we had just an amazing experience in Atlanta with the Braves. It's impossible for me to choose one of those teams for my Hall of Fame plaque, as the fans of both clubs in each of those cities were so wonderful. I can't think of having my Hall of Fame induction without support of both of those fan bases, so, for that reason, the cap on my Hall of Fame plaque will not feature a logo.”
—Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, on his choice to not have a logo on his Hall of Fame plaque. (Cash Kruth, MLB.com)
“The Chicago White Sox gave me my start in the game as a big league manager for my first eight seasons in my 33-year managerial career. In Oakland, we recorded four first-place finishes in 10 years, winning three pennants and a World Series. And in St. Louis, our clubs won three pennants and two titles in 16 years. It's the totality of the success of each of those three teams that led me to Cooperstown, so I am choosing to not feature a logo so that fans of all clubs can celebrate this honor with me.”
—Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, on his choice to not have a logo on his Hall of Fame plaque.
“I was fortunate to manage 29 years in the Major Leagues in two wonderful cities in Toronto and Atlanta. I can't imagine two better places for me to spend my managerial career. With 25 of those years in Atlanta, my Hall of Fame election is a direct result of all the success of those great Braves teams that were assembled.”
—Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox, on his decision to have the Braves logo on his cap on his Cooperstown plaque.
“During the course of my Major League career, I had the opportunity to play for two great organizations. Though I spent five great years with the Mets, my baseball life has been defined by the city of Atlanta, from the club selecting me out of high school to where my family makes our home today. My path to Cooperstown was largely determined by my 17 Major League seasons in a Braves uniform. I'm proud my Hall of Fame plaque will feature a Braves logo.”
—Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine, on his decision.
“I was drafted by Chicago in the first round, and for 16 of my 19 seasons, I was fortunate to play there. I had wonderful seasons in Oakland and Toronto as part of my career, but my Hall of Fame election is celebrated most by the fans of Chicago and the priceless memories I will always treasure on the South Side, which is why my plaque will feature a Sox logo.”
—Hall of Fame first baseman Frank Thomas, on putting the White Sox logo on his cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
“I was lucky that my career took me only to great baseball towns. Every place where I played or managed is special to me because of the memories and the friendships that each afforded me. When I became the manager of the New York Yankees, it was an opportunity to realize my lifelong dream of winning the World Series. We were fortunate enough to succeed in our first season in 1996, and in the years that followed, we wrote some great new chapters in Yankee history. I am honored that I will wear the Yankee logo on my cap in Cooperstown to represent what our teams achieved together.”
—Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, on his decision.
Tanaka is 25 and just signed for 155 mill. I'm 25 and my mom still yells at me for not putting my dishes away. #FAIL
—Pittsburgh catcher Tony Sanchez.
“We've been in contact with the Brewers for quite some time. It was just kind of the right fit. It wasn't a surprise. I was expecting an open market and that's what I got. I'm really happy that I'm a Milwaukee Brewer… I haven't been near my phone for a couple days due to family stuff. Just after my son's basketball game right now. I think the Brewers' fans heard it before I did… I know what they can bring. I know what kind of threat a healthy Braun and a healthy Ramirez is. It's going to be an exciting year for us. We've got a great rotation, we'll have a solid bullpen and we'll put up runs.”
—Free agent pitcher Matt Garza, on finalizing a four year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. (Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
“To be able to hit with no pain and run with no pain was a lot of fun. I haven't hit with no pain for about a year, so it's not very fun to go through for a year, year and a half. I know you're going to have your ups and downs, play through pain, but that was something I didn't like doing, and it didn't feel very good. So being able to hit, being able to run, being able to chuck baseballs and things like that, it's been a great offseason. It's a lot of fun to be able to do it not hurt.”
—Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, on looking forward to playing while healthy in 2014. (Andrew Simon, MLB.com)
“[My ankle] was pretty sore and it was a little bit of a struggle, but that's not something I really like to talk about. If I had it my way, I wouldn't have been injured and had that be the topic of conversation. So in that regard, it was frustrating. But also, I was extremely excited to get out there and play again and finish out the season with my teammates… That was a pretty tough time in my career, not being able to finish out September with the guys. It was a really tough time for that injury to happen. So to get out there and play in the World Series and contribute with the team was a great experience overall.”
—St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig, on missing September and most of the playoffs with an ankle injury before playing in the World Series. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)
“I'm just going to let it be a mystery. A mystery unsolved… The season just kind of ended, and I kind of just put it in the past. I was a little upset I didn't pitch. I put it away. That was however long ago it was. After the season ended, I wanted to be ready for a big offseason and getting ready for the spring. I didn't want to dwell on the past as far as not pitching in October. I'm not going to go up to anybody and ask about it anymore. I'm not worried about it anymore. The four guys we had throwing were doing really well… If you're asking if I've lost my role as a starter or anything like that, I don't think so. We're going into camp battling, just like I pretty much did last year, with even more guys.”
—St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller, on being shut down during the Cardinals’ playoff run. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)
“We've seen him over the last several weeks. He's been really swinging the bat well. On top of that, he's in very good shape and he's very motivated. I talked to him directly maybe 10 days ago or so. Bobby said, 'Ruben, I'd love to finish my career as a Phillie.' I said, 'Well, let's see what we've got.' We've kept our eye on him… The biggest thing is whether or not he'll be able to do it at this level after taking a year off, but he's very motivated. This is a no-risk deal. He's got a high on-base percentage. He has the ability to create good at-bats. Maybe he can be an extra outfielder that can give us a little extra punch off the bench.”
—Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., on signing outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor-league deal following his strong season in Venezuelan Winter Ball. (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)
“Losing is unacceptable, in my book, it's unacceptable in the fans' book, and I want them to know that although it was a great run in 2006, I think that we're in store for an even greater run in years to come, because of the youth movement that we have, because of some of the pieces that [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] and the front office have added this offseason. I think this is only kind of the beginning … and it's going to be fun when we get to that point where we're a playoff team each year.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright, on the current state of the team. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
“This procedure, which results from MLB's continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security to standardize security practices across the game, will be in addition to bag checks.”
—MLB spokesman Michael Teevan, on teams having metal detectors in stadiums by the 2015 season. (Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com).
“I’ve never lifted heavy, heavy weight before, so that’s what I’m doing this offseason. Just trying to put muscle on, trying to have a couple of cheat days here and there, pizzas, burgers every once in a while. But for the most part trying to stay gluten-free, because that makes my joints feel better. So overall I'm feeling better.”
—Josh Hamilton, on his new offseason routine. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“It was a long season. I definitely got tired. But I think those three starts in the big leagues definitely gave me a boost of energy. Now I know what to expect for the coming season. … I’m going to Spring Training to compete. Just prepare, go out there and have fun. … I’m going out there with more confidence. I know what to expect from big league hitters, know what to expect in the clubhouse with media and stuff like that.”
—Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker, on his approach to cracking the roster this year (Robert Emrich, MiLB.com)
“Torres was obviously phenomenal for us last season. As the calendar turned to January, we really started focusing on areas of weakness that we wanted to be aggressive. … Forsythe is a guy that we had tried to get previously and a guy that was very high on our target list.”
—Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman, on reliever Alex Torres, who was just traded to the Padres (Andrew Astleford, FOXSports.com)
“I look at that, and it’s like. ‘Wow.’ When you see that, you’re blessed and humbled to stay here. You have to remember you could be here this year and never know what’s going to happen next year.”
—Elvis Andrus, on the Rangers changing six starting position players over the offseason, including former All-Star middle infielder Ian Kinsler (Gerry Fraley, The Dallas Morning News)