JOHNSON, PEDRO, BIGGIO, AND SMOLTZ ELECTED TO HALL
"It was fun. I enjoyed it, despite what some people thought. I wasn't out there smiling and laughing a lot, but I enjoyed the competition and I tried to make it last as long as I could. There were bumps along the way with the [back] injuries that I had. But every player has those and you have to overcome that adversity. Playing 22 years at the Major League level was something I could never have imagined."
—Hall of Fame electee Randy Johnson, on his time in the big leagues (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com)
"The fact that I made it over 90 [percent]? My God. It's unbelievable. I couldn't ask for more. The minimum would've been great for me. Remember, I was second-guessed to be here. And today I can say, 'I'm here.' I was supposed to be too fragile. I was supposed to break down on the way over. And I'm here answering your questions. I'm extremely honored to have been selected. Period. Without anybody thinking about what the amount of votes could be."
—Pedro Martinez, on how he feels being voted into the Hall of Fame (Spencer Fordin, MLB.com)
"I was too antsy, nervous and excited. I went for a walk for a couple of miles. I came back and threw BP to [his sons], and then got a phone call at noontime that will forever change my life and my family's life, but it was very, very overwhelming and emotional. I don't remember speaking to the people on the phone, other than I started crying. Then I asked them—I think it was the third person I ended up talking to—'Is this really real? You're not playing a joke on me or nothing, right?' Today is a great day."
—Craig Biggio, on his reaction to hearing about his election (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)
"I just came out of nowhere to play baseball. My dad didn't play. There wasn't anything that would lead me to the sport. I was playing the accordion. So, I never even had an understanding of the Hall of Fame until I became a baseball fan."
—John Smoltz, on getting started playing baseball (Marty Noble, MLB.com)
OAKLAND ACQUIRES BEN ZOBRIST AND YUNEL ESCOBAR
"After the offseason (moves) started, everybody thought we were giving up. Then Billy does what Billy does and turns it right back around and surprises everyone. It's awesome. I can't wait for the season to start."
—A’s right fielder Josh Reddick, on general manager Billy Beane making a big acquisition after trading away Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, and others (John Nickey, San Jose Mercury News)
"You don't need to pick up the paper or read online to find out about Zobrist's many assets. You knew. This was the kind of thing everybody's going to have some interest in him at some level. He's really very, very unique. There are very few guys who switch hit and play the positions as well as he does."
—Beane, on Zobrist’s value and his ability to play multiple defensive positions (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
"Coming back to the Rays, I'm super excited about it. I'm stoked. I'm ready to come to spring training and do whatever gets thrown at me. I kind of want to build my resume to be more of a versatile player, which I think I can do."
—Catcher John Jaso, on being sent from Oakland to Tampa Bay in the deal. Jaso was drafted by and made his major-league debut with the Rays before being traded to Seattle and then Oakland (Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times)
Oopps you missed me! Walked right by me! Hope he gets to see his pic with me on Twitter, he doesn't know we took this pic.twitter.com/CHgFlVfafm
“Historically, nine-figure contracts for starting pitchers in their 30s haven’t worked out, so you’re looking for ways to make the best bet in an inherently risky endeavor. (With) Jon, there are a lot of mitigating factors. I’m not going to say it’s without risk. Contracts like this always carry risk. But we’ve been around him since he was 18. I know exactly what shoulder program he’s been on since he was 18. I know how well he’s executed that shoulder program, how diligent he’s been with it. I know what his MRIs look like.”
—Cubs president Theo Epstein, on recently signed pitcher Jon Lester (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)
"Statistically, it's been my best year so far. Coming into the year, what I wanted to do was reverse the trend of the last few years, and get back to doing things I knew I was capable of doing. I improved in a lot of categories across the board and showed that I'm a serviceable asset to any team.
—Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs, on having an improved offensive year in 2014 (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
“I just feel it's more of a team. The club last year won 94 games. We were a little crazy, but that's who we were. Nothing wrong with that. But I think the pieces will fit together better [in 2015]… The Matt thing is a tough one, because it looks like the old Matt is back. But you know with our outfield situation, something had to happen. We had to do something. I texted Matt, thanked him for everything he's done for me and our time together since '08. I hope I was able to help his career.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on the organization radically changing the roster, including trading Matt Kemp to San Diego (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“I've been dealing with this issue since I banged my shoulder on the fence in August, if you remember I received two cortisone shots during the season for this issue. There was hope that it would heal with time and treatment, I pretty much did everything legally possible to not have surgery but in the end surgery was the best course of action with the 2015 season and beyond in mind.”
—Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who underwent shoulder surgery on Friday. Werth will require two to three months of rehab to return to full strength, so his status for the beginning of the 2015 season is unclear. (Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)
“Everybody says it's big. I don't think so. It usually plays pretty fair. It's one of those places where if you hit a home run, it's going to be a home run. I've enjoyed a bit of success here, and I enjoy playing here… I think the park's great. It's a great atmosphere. I mean, how can you beat playing in San Diego every day? The new guys are going to love it, the guys who haven't played here.”
—Padres outfielder Justin Upton, on his perception of Petco Park. (ESPN.com)
“If I can be healthy, I'm sure all that other stuff will fall in place.”
—Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia, on his outlook coming into the 2015 season. Sabathia made only eight starts in 2014 before surrendering his season to a degenerative knee condition. (Andrew Simon, MLB.com)
“The first person that comes to my mind was a teammate of mine for 9½ years and the greatest hitter I ever played with. I've faced a lot of Hall of Fame hitters, and my gosh, Edgar is the best hitter that I ever saw… I support him because he was my teammate, and I loved him, and he did so much for Seattle and made me look good during my career there. The first person on my ballot who would get my vote is Edgar. Yes, I'm campaigning for him. But isn't that always going to happen with these kinds of things?”
—Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, on former teammate Edgar Martinez’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame. (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)