REDS ACQUIRE BYRD FROM PHILLIES
"The one thing that kept coming back about Marlon Byrd was the way he played the game, the way he went about his business, his work ethic. We take a lot of stock in guys like that. In some ways, it's similar to when we brought Scott Rolen over. (Byrd) plays the game the right way without a lot of hoopla. He practices like he plays."
—Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, on the organization's decision to trade for Byrd (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)
“I'm really excited about for the obvious reasons. Certainly, the run production. That was an area we struggled with through the injuries and the challenges last year. The other thing that we've talked about is someone who can go out and on a daily basis play the game the right way, adding another quality professional to our mix. It makes us better in a lot of ways – from the standpoint of how hard we're going to play and how we prepare.”
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on the implications of adding Byrd to the team’s roster (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)
"I came up in (Philadelphia) Phillie organization. We talked about the Phillie way. That's just going hard, give it your all, don't take an inning off, don't take a pitch off. I try to go one speed on the field… I wasn't really happy with this season, even though I put up good numbers as far as power and production. My batting average slipped down, my strikeouts went up, my walks went down. I need to get some work in. I took off a week after the season and went back to hitting. I got a little too wide in my stance. I had a little too much movement. I struggled with the pitch. I'll continue to put hard work in in the offseason and continue to get better."
—Byrd, on his time with the Phillies and his future with the Reds (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)
POTENTIAL RULE CHANGES TO BE DISCUSSED AT QUARTERLY OWNER MEETINGS
“I did like the batter keeping at least one foot in the box. However, I saw two guys get called out on strikes for stepping out of the box with two strikes. I don’t ever think the bat should be taken out of someone’s hands. I don’t think the fans would want to see that [either].”
—Reds outfield prospect Kyle Waldrop, on a proposed rule change that would result in an automatic strike call if a batter removed both feet from the batter’s box. Waldrop and other prospects tested the rule during the Arizona Fall League. (Jon Morosi, FOX Sports)
“The one-foot-in-the-box rule is somewhat in effect in the minor leagues, anyway. I only had one or two players say anything to me concerning that rule.”
—Former major leaguer and manager of the Mesa Solar Sox Mike Mordecai, on the proposed batter’s box rule.
“Sliding into second will cut down on injuries, both for the fielder and the runner. Quite frankly, there aren’t a lot of guys that really know how to bust up double plays. They slide early and never quite get to the fielder.”e
—Mordecai, on a proposed rule stipulating that players must slide directly into second base during potential double plays. Another potential rule change—a clock limiting the down time between a pitcher’s deliveries—is unlikely to debut during the 2015 season.
“He’s just touching the surface of what he can do. He’s a tremendous horse. He’s got a competitive side to him that not a lot of people get, not a lot of people have. This guy is catching football passes on NBC in prime time. So for him, winning is all he really cares about. That’s a lot of fun for a guy who is young and establishing himself and on his way to a big payday. He really truly cares about winning ballgames and the team being good. The White Sox picked up a great starter, a horse, and now they have a 1 and a 1a in my mind.”
—Former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, on current White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Dempster and Samardzija were teammates when Samardzija was on the Cubs (Dan Hayes, CSN Chicago)
“If I'm anywhere close to healthy, and doing anywhere close to what I expect myself to do, I have no doubt we're in a different place as a team… You need your best players to play well down the stretch, and I didn't do that… I've dealt with that for years now. I dealt with that in 2012 and had one of my best seasons. I don't allow that to get in the way of how I prepare and compete. The biggest key to success for me, as it is for most players, is being healthy. Playing the game with one hand is extremely challenging.”
—Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, on his difficulties with injuries (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)
“What I saw last year, why not be part of the team? I want to be here and help the team win some games and enjoy what they did last year. What I saw last year was unbelievable. It’s a dream come true … and I want to take a chance, be part of the team and do it again.”
—Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, who recently signed with Kansas City, on watching the team play this October (Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star)
“I probably hear the same or less than you guys when it’s all happening. I pay a little bit of attention to the trade rumors that were out there, and obviously I pay attention to what the Padres were doing. A lot of times, you can put two and two together. You never know what’s going to happen, but you can give yourself a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen… I’m very excited. Obviously watching them last year, making it right to the end and fighting for a playoff spot was fun to watch. I got to see them first hand in 2012 and 2013 and they were always a club that’s been right there. We didn’t like playing them when I was in Oakland. They gave us problems, especially when you have a pitching staff like that.”
—Outfielder Seth Smith, on being traded to the Seattle Mariners (Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times)
"If you look at the last three years, you could say he is—quote—high risk. With the information we have on him, we think he'll be a big part of our team. He's proved when he pitches he can be effective and he's going to be motivated on a one-year deal, so I'm sure he'll want the ball every fifth day."
—Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, on the risk of signing starting pitcher Brett Anderson. Anderson has started 19 games over the past three years (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
“The idea of joining the group that was being formed excited me. And I'm really excited about the things we can do, ways we can improve and help win more games… This has been my life. I have a really good relationship with those guys upstairs, and I'm relatively familiar with a lot of the things that we do and a lot of the information that we use. The players are the ones that go out there on the field. We just want to put them in the best position and do what we can to help.”
—Former Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli, on joining Tampa Bay’s coaching staff (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)
“I definitely feel that I can improve on fastball location—not just throwing it for strikes, but throwing it to the exact part of the plate you want to as often as you can, which is probably the most difficult thing to do. I feel the need to make more strides in that area as well as develop the changeup and curveball and throw those for strikes as well.”
—Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, on adjustments he wants to make to improve his pitching (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
“We asked him to come to Kansas City after the holiday for an evaluation and it was determined he needed to have this repaired now to avoid any further complications and any delay in the start of the upcoming season.”
—Royals head trainer Nick Kenny, commenting on Alex Gordon, who had surgery this past week to address a wrist injury. Gordon, who first noticed an issue with the wrist during offseason workouts, is expected to be ready by the beginning of the 2015 season. (Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star)
“There’s been a lot written about (Velazquez’s) loyalty to Alex Rodriguez. It’s always easy to be loyal when you only have a general idea about how much time you’re facing,” said David Weinstein, a Miami partner at Clarke Silverglate who is following the Biogenesis case. Weinstein is a former federal prosecutor and a former chief of the Miami state attorney’s narcotics section. “When reality hits, all of the sudden you say, ‘Well now I’m going to go do two and a half years?’”
—David Weinstein, a partner at the Clarke Silverglate law firm, after Jorge Velazquez, a supplier of steroids to the Biogenesis clinic, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on December 30th. (Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News)
"Hank was highly regarded throughout baseball as a man of integrity and great character," Angelos said. "His impact was felt by multiple organizations throughout his 40-year baseball career, and he will be missed by all who knew him."
—Orioles owner Peter Angelos, on the passing of Hank Peters, a former executive with the Orioles and Indians. Peters was 90 years old. (Tom Withers, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)