DONALDSON HEADS TO TORONTO IN BLOCKBUSTER DEAL
“When we went into this winter, we had to take a look at where we are and where we're headed, and we have to keep in mind we were 11 games behind the Angels last season and it took the last day to hold off the Mariners. Given the losses that we have … at some credible positions, and given our payroll, we didn't think it was possible to sort of add to the current group to make up an 11-game difference, so what we thought we had to do was do something that wasn't timid and something that hopefully got us in a position that we had a team with a chance to get better with each day as opposed to one that was maybe starting to deteriorate.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane, on Friday’s trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays in exchange for Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, and Franklin Barreto. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
“We wouldn't have done the deal unless it addressed now and the future, and we were able to do that. We lost a lot of Minor League capital in the last couple of years trying to give this current group as good a chance as we possibly could, and now looking forward, I think we also have to be cognizant of the next couple of years. This deal, in our minds, addresses a little bit of everything.”
—Beane, on the trade.
“No, I don’t think that’s fair at all. I think it’s wrong. I think Brett is a very, very good player and he can get even better. He’s a Gold Glove caliber defender at third, he energizes his teammates, he plays hard, he plays to win. I think the expectations on him were so high because of his six-week period when he came up the first time and hit nine home runs in 100-some-odd at-bats.”
—Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, on whether it’s fair to say that Brett Lawrie didn’t develop as he had hoped. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
“Even the number of at-bats he had at the Minor League level, he rocketed through the Minor Leagues. Brett is young in so many ways, from a baseball standpoint and a development standpoint. He was so talented that he got up here so early, he still has to go out and do it on the field but he’s already an outstanding player and he absolutely has the ability to take it to another level and become the All-Star. I don’t think the book is closed on him at all and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens soon.”
—Anthopoulos, on Lawrie.
“It doesn’t make sense to me. We traded our best player the past two years. It seems like we’re going into a rebuilding drive. It’s sad any time you see your best player go, not just as a player but as a person. And he’s our three-hole hitter and best defensive player. He was big for our team.”
—Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick, on Donaldson being traded to Toronto. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
“In 2012, at the beginning of the season, was really the first time I’ve been able to see my swing on video and the first time I watched it on film. In my mind, this isn’t what my swing looked like. So then I started looking for guys that I felt were comparables as far as body type, as far as what I thought I could do, as far as production, as far as hitting. Bautista was a guy, at that time time was doing big things and is still doing big things, so I definitely had thought about him a lot. I’ve probably watched over 1,000 hours and Bautista swinging and really tried to learn.”
—Donaldson, on trying to remodel his swing after that of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
“In some ways it’s almost the same kind of story for us a little bit. He was somewhat of a journeyman major leaguer until he landed in Toronto and I was kind of almost being labeled as a Four-A or Triple-A guy then started breaking out a little in 2012 toward the end of the season.”
—Donaldson, on Bautista. (Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sportsnet)
“It definitely will take some getting used to. With that being said, I had already made adjustments during the three-game series that we were there. I would switch my cleats whenever I was on defense, to whenever I would hit, in order to kind of take away that pounding off the turf. It helps. For the third game I played there in a row, I was definitely starting to feel that I was playing on turf and then whenever I decided, hey I’m going to start changing my shoes from defense to offense it really made a significant difference in how my body was feeling and everything. It will take some getting used to, I definitely feel like I can do, and I will do it, so I really feel like it will be a non issue.”
—Donaldson, on the adjustments he’ll have to make to playing his home games on artificial turf.
“I’m still a little shocked. I’ll tell you what, I saw something on Twitter that somebody put me in one of those Toronto Blue Jays uniforms, the all white. I’ll tell you what, those uniforms are pretty sexy.”
RED SOX LOCK UP HANLEY RAMIREZ AND PABLO SANDOVAL
“Anytime you get into the offseason and you start to define the pool of potential players, personally, you start to make your own selections, in my own thinking, just who might fit well, and certainly Ben has such a good read on this, to be able to make the moves he’s made so far early in the season is pretty incredible. Both (Sandoval) and Hanley are an outstanding fit, based on the need for offense and the positions they play.”
—Red Sox manager John Farrell, on the club signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to long-term deals. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)
“That was really overblown because of one comment quoting a study which says more about the structure of major league compensation,” Henry said. “Players aren’t compensated that well in their 20s. They have to get to free agency, so almost by definition, you’re going to get more bang for your buck when a player is in his 20s. That’s just the way the structure is set up. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to go out and sign 30-year-old players. You can’t win unless you engage in free agency. We always engage in free agency. After the ’12 and ’14 seasons, we had such a flexibility during the offseason that we went into the free agency market both times for 30-year-olds. I don’t see that as a departure. But I understand because so much was made as if we were never going to have a long-term contract. We were never going to sign a 30-year-old. I thought that was a little much to assume.”
—Red Sox owner John Henry, on his perceived aversion to signing players over the age of 30 to long-term deals. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)
“The way it’s structured, we can blow through one year. For next year we have tremendous flexibility, so we could go through for one year and it won’t overly affect us.”
—Henry, who indicated that the front office doesn’t have to stay under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
“After I was traded from Florida to LA, I was around guys that have been in the game, being men at the same time they’re being players. They come up to me and talk to me and tell me what I’m doing wrong. And then you go, ‘Wow, that’s right. I won’t do it again.’ After I got there, I learned how to win. So right now I’m a different player, I’m a different person.”
—Ramirez, on his change in attitude and maturity after being traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)
“Like everyone’s saying right now, we are the ‘Tres Amigos.’”
—Sandoval, on the trio of himself, Ramirez and David Ortiz in the middle of Boston’s lineup.
“The one thing that keeps bubbling in your head is, ‘Does a guy want to be here or not, are we talking a guy into being here or does he really want to be here?’” said general manager Ben Cherington, who noted Sandoval “is a guy that wanted to be here and that’s appealing. It gives us such comfort on that question. ‘Do you know for sure?’ No. But it gives us some comfort. Same with Hanley. He reaches out, says, ‘Look, I’ll play anywhere. I want to be back there. I want a chance to do what I didn’t get a chance to do after the trade.’ That said, we were able to work out a contract we think makes sense. That says to us we think he really wants to be here.”
—Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, on sensing that Ramirez and Sandoval both wanted to come to Boston. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
“If we can win a World Series every other year and finish last every other year, I’d take that. It has been a roller coaster, you can’t deny that. But when you have a bad year like we did this year, similar to 2012, we are determined to rebuild quickly, and I think Ben (Cherington) has taken tremendous steps to do that.”
SCOUTS WEIGH IN ON YASMANY TOMAS DEAL
“I don't want to hang my hat on performance history, but his has not been outstanding.”
—A major-league scout, on Tomas’s numbers in Cuba’s Series Nacional league. Tomas’s career OPS of .851 trails the OPS marks of previous Cuban free agents Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Alexei Ramirez, and Rusney Castillo. (Nick Piecoro, USA Today)
“Most people thought it would cost between $80 million-$100 million.”
—An AL scout, praising the Diamondbacks for signing Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract.
“I think he's a good hitter and has a really good approach. I think he has a chance to hit .280 with 25 homers.”
—A different AL scout, on Tomas’ ceiling.
“I think it's a great deal.”
—A high-ranking AL scout.
— Brett Lawrie (@blawrie13) November 29, 2014
“If you think there’s somebody better in right, be my guest. Obviously health will dictate that. But if I’m healthy if there’s a better outfielder in right field then show me and go out there and do it. I’m not saying that in a cocky or arrogant way. It’s just how confident I am to know I should be the starting right fielder. There are things to come into play and situations to be discussed. I plan on being healthy and out there and ready to go. Like I said, it’s my job. I don’t think there’s anybody can tell me differently. If they feel there is from an organization’s standpoint it is what it is. As I’ve said, whatever uniform it may be I’m going to go out there and give 100 percent and be the best I can be. Obviously I want it to be a Red Sox uniform and be a right fielder, but I can’t control decisions that are made from up top.”
—Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, on expecting to be the club’s starting right fielder at the start of the 2015 season. (Rob Bradford, WEEI)
"It's early in the off-season. Sometimes it takes time for any big moves to happen or occur. But I think getting Adam Lind is huge for us. Adding a left-handed bat to the middle of our lineup should be something that should really benefit us. It's probably been one of our bigger issues over the last couple of seasons. We've been predominantly a right-handed hitting lineup. And our division has really good right-handed pitchers. So adding a lefty to the middle of our lineup is huge for us."
—Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, on his team’s moves during the offseason (Tom Haudricourt, Journal Sentinel)
“I think that I learned our team. Being the new guy, you just don't know. You don't know until you can get there and you can actually roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty. So I think over the course of the season, I learned our guys more and more each day. Got a chance to know them personally. Got a chance to know their families. Got a chance to hear their frustration and share in their success, too. You can't do that unless you're there and unless you're actually in the clubhouse with them and on the bench with them and feel their pain and their success with them.”
—Nationals manager Matt Williams, on what he learned in his first season (Dan Kolko, MASN Sports)
"That's always something I've wanted to do…It's a little more taxing on your body, and I think a little more challenging, too. As a reliever, you only face guys one time. You might pitch all three games in a series, and you might face the same guy three times, but facing them three times in one game is a little bit different. It's a little more challenging. From a competitive standpoint, it's something I'd like to see if I could be successful at."
—Pitcher Aaron Crow, recently traded from the Royals to the Marlins, on the possibility of becoming a starter (Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
"I love Major League Baseball. I always have and I loved playing the game. I don't have any doubts that I'll get there in time. I'm bothered about it, but I don't sit here going, 'I'm not going to make it.' I don't see how it stays the way it's going. In my mind, in my head, I'm a lot more positive about it than I am negative. I think eventually they'll do the right thing."
—Former Giants and Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds, on his candidacy for the Hall of Fame (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com)
“He has taken some batting practice off a pitcher. It’s not like he’s playing every day. You’re not going to get a good feel and judgment on it until then, when you’re playing every day, seven days a week, taking BP and all that. That’s the true test… But, right now, it sounds like everything is great. He’s just going to let it go through the normal healing process.”
—Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, on the progress Ryan Braun has made since his October second thumb surgery. (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)