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CARDINALS AND BRAVES MAKE BLOCKBUSTER TRADE

“It's an exciting day for us. For the last several years we've always talked about development, we've talked about controlling our own players, and having that cost certainty moving forward. But we did feel like after the events of this offseason we had to do something different; we had to look at a way to add an impact player to our club. We certainly understand that it could potentially be for one year. Hopefully it's not.”
—Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on sending Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta in exchange for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. Heyward will be a free agent following the 2015 season. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“As far as being traded? No, not (a surprise) at this point. For me, if it happened, if it did have to happen, I'm honored that it's with the St. Louis Cardinals. … I feel like with a player, whoever it is, in a situation where the contract is up a year from now, I don't think it a surprise at all that a team would make a trade if they don't feel like they're going to get something done long-term.”
—Heyward, on the possibility of signing a long-term extension with the Cardinals. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“It's not something you like to do. But I think where the Braves are right now, this is a deal that really helps us short-term and long-term with players we can control in an area where we are woefully thin in our Minor League system… [Miller] is a young man who has had a great pedigree. He's an outstanding baseball guy. He's a first-round pick who has always had a big arm. Over the past several years, his pitchability has been improving significantly.”
—Braves president of baseball operations John Hart, on the team’s decision to part ways with Heyward (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“You never really expect the unexpected. There is always a possibility for it to happen, but you don't know about it until it actually does. I look at it in a positive way. I'm going to a great team and a great organization. I'm really excited to be a Brave.”
—Miller, on being sent to Atlanta (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

STANTON, MARLINS FINALIZE MASSIVE CONTRACT

“It's an exciting day for Miami, my fans, our fans. This is not a lottery ticket. This is the start of work and a new job. It's a huge responsibility, and one I'm willing to take… I want to win, and I want to win in Miami. Yeah, I’m financially good for the rest of my life, great, but I’m not trying to come here and get my butt kicked for 10 hours and go home to a lavish lifestyle every day. That’s not fun for me. At the end of the day, I want to be playing in October, I don’t want to be on vacation.”
Giancarlo Stanton, on signing a 13-year, $325 million contract extension with the Miami Marlins. (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

“We said in order for this deal to work for the next three years before we have increased revenue we have to pay you a smaller amount of money because we need to win, and the only way we can win with you is to surround you with other players. The [Miami] Heat did that too, they took less in order to have more.”
—Marlins president David Samson, on backloading the deal so Stanton will be paid just $107 million over the first six years of the contract. (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

MARTIN AND JAYS DIVE INTO PITCH FRAMING

“As simply as I can put it, I work with the pitch. If it’s a two-seamer to a righty on the inside from a lefty, and the pitch is working its way back towards the plate, I would catch it deeper so that ball keeps working back onto the plate. If it’s a breaking ball or a pitch that’s dipping out of the zone, I try to catch it out in front before it drops down. Really you’re just trying to present the ball as best as you can for the umpire to get a good look. A slider or a curveball that’s down, you want to catch it as far out as possible to give the ump a good look as to where that ball is crossing. Two-seamers and breaking balls that are up, you catch them a little bit deeper because you want the ball to get down into the zone.”
—Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, on his approach to pitch receiving. (Shi Davidi, Sportsnet)

“The hand position when you receive the ball is the key ingredient. I teach thumb up, so when you frame a pitch, you want to stay away from moving the glove away from the target. You go out and attack the ball to catch the ball out in front as opposed to catching it back. In my generation a lot of the catchers were taught to catch the ball back. Bob Boone, Carlton Fisk, they caught the ball deep into their body and they can hold it. Jose Molina is one of the few guys who still does a little bit of that. Now everybody wants to catch the ball out front, and the further out you go the more distance you cut down on the plate. If the ball is going to move off the plate and you go out to get it, you’re going to catch it before it gets off the plate.”
—Blue Jays coach Sal Butera, on how he teaches his catchers to receive pitches.

“You want the movement from the pitcher, but you want to go out and get the movement before it gets so deep that it looks like it’s off the plate. If a guy has a straight fastball, you’re pretty much going to get it the way it’s coming in. But if you catch with your thumb up, you can manipulate your glove, position it going towards (the plate). I try to teach our guys to catch into a cone, the more you catch to a cone, the better chance you have of getting the pitch, and if the umpire doesn’t say anything, you take it as far as you can.”
—Butera, on receiving pitches that have some extra life to them. Two of the pitchers that Martin will presumably catch for next season, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, both have notable run on their fastballs.

“A good catcher doesn’t try to frame balls. You frame a close pitch, and you have to know what a close pitch is. When a guy runs three, four balls off the plate, don’t try to bring them back over the plate. The idea is knowing which pitches you can and can’t get, it’s very simple. A lot of it is predicated on the pitcher you have. Can he hit the location enough times?”
—Butera.

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“Joel's significance to the Rays transcended his on-field performance," Rays general manager Matt Silverman said in a statement. "He was a clubhouse leader who always sought ways to make the organization better.”
—Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman, after reliever Joel Peralta was traded to the Dodgers. (Mark Saxon, ESPN)

“Finding some balance in the lineup is important from a general standpoint. We want to put (manager Robin Ventura) in a position where he has the ability to put out different lineups each day based on what the best matchup is and what gives him the best chance to win, whether it’s the opposing starter or the defense behind the starter they’re running out there.”
—White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, on finding a left-handed bat in Adam LaRoche to pair with right-handed hitters Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia. (Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune)

“The decision on Dave Martinez was especially difficult. He's played a key role in our organization's evolution, and he's done all he can to put himself in position to be a manager. In the end, we determined that our clubhouse would best benefit from a new voice that will add to our already strong and cohesive culture.”
—Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman, after narrowing down the list of managerial candidates to Raul Ibanez, Don Wakamatsu, and Kevin Cash. Martinez, who has served as the Rays’ bench coach for the last seven seasons, is out of the running. (ESPN)

“I've been so busy and every day is so frenetic that the last month or two, I'm sure I'll spend a lot of time thinking about it, but you know, we are where we want to be. We're having a wonderful transition, orderly transition, good transition. That's very important.”
—Commissioner Bud Selig, on the state of baseball as he enters his last two months on the job. Selig will chair his final owners’ meeting in January. (Dave Skretta, San Jose Mercury News)

“Thank God.”
—Yankees president Randy Levine, celebrating the fact that the Yankees are no longer responsible for the richest contract in baseball history ($275 million over 10 years to Alex Rodriguez).

“There was such consternation, I don’t think many people understood what we were doing two years ago. Everyone said, ‘Here they go again, another fire sale.’ But what we did didn't work. And it wasn't going to work. I mean, two weeks into the season I knew it wasn't going to work. We had a $100 million-plus payroll, we didn't win a lot of games (69-93), we got the wrong guys in free agency, there were issues with the manager and the community, so we had no choice. We had to blow it up and hit the reset button.”
—Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, explaining the logic behind the 2012 firesale that sent away Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, and Anibal Sanchez, among others. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“We put a lot of time and effort into analyzing this decision. We believe these modifications will increase the number of home runs for our team, without hurting our own pitchers. "It's all relative. If we believe we have the kind of pitching that won't be adversely affected by a change like this—which we do—and our own hitters can take advantage of it, then from a comparative standpoint, we're better off.”
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, on moving the fences at Citi Field in for the 2015 season. (Paul Casella, MLB.com)

“You see stuff out of reliever that sometimes it plays and sometimes it doesn't. The same pitcher may have the same two pitches and he's effective last year and not as effective this year, and you try to get back to what made him effective, why he was ineffective and how you can help him. Purely at the Major League level, bullpens are the toughest to predict and the toughest to build.”
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on the difficulty of building a successful bullpen (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)