QUIET, PEACEFUL, AND FULL OF BLING
“We’re going to a create a calm, peaceful environment to get something done. We’re going to shy away from giving daily updates, or updates at all. We’re going to negotiate it in peace and quiet and try to get something done.”
—Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on negotiations with Scott Boras on a deal for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“Clearly baseball is floating in a lot of cash. Revenues have been growing at 11% a year. If nothing else, because of the economic health of baseball you’ll see escalation in salaries.”
–Smith economics professor Andrew Zimbalist
“You never know where you are at the moment. It’s like being in a casino with no windows or clocks. You could be in Florida, New Jersey or Texas.”
–Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on the meetings in Naples, FL.
“The group that’s out there as free agents, it isn’t the most attractive group.”
—Phillies GM Pat Gillick
EMPTY THREATS FOR THE BENEFIT OF AGENTS LISTENING
“We have guys that we can turn to from within at all positions. I’m not saying we’re going to turn to them, but in the worst-case scenario, if we do, we do. I’m engaging the trade and free-agent markets, but I have a comfort level in going with the guys I’ve got.”
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (The New York Times)
“Hill will play shortstop, and we have no problem with that. If it’s going to take more money to get pitching, we’d rather get the pitching than the shortstop, knowing that Hill can play there.”
—Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi
“That is some concern of ours, but I can’t say to the point where I’m alarmed [by] it. I’d rather be more right-handed than left-handed, to be honest with you.”
–Ricciardi, on Toronto’s lineup being predominantly right-handed.
“There are three other teams interested, including one that wants him to be their everyday second baseman. We’re sorting through everything. Hopefully, we can make a decision in the next few days. The Brewers are in the thick of it.”
—Dan Lozano, Tony Graffanino‘s agent
JUST SO YOU KNOW THE REASON WE CAN’T WIN THE NL EAST ANYMORE
“Our budget is going to remain the same as it’s been the last couple of years. We’re going to keep paying guys based on our projections.”
—John Schuerholz, Braves general manager.
“Owners have the wherewithal to improve their teams, and their fan base is aware of this.”
–superagent Scott Boras
“I will say for the record it’s absolutely untrue. And I’ll answer that question because there has been so much speculated that is completely off-base. I don’t want our fans fooled.”
—White Sox GM Kenny Williams
“WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE PIECES OF A BROKEN HEART”
“My gut feeling is that we’re going to get him.”
–an executive with the Texas Rangers, on the bidding process for righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“Too bad the Texas Rangers won’t be getting him.”
—Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister, to former Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush
“There was about a 24-hour period when I let myself think we had a shot, before reality set in.”
–Rangers GM Jon Daniels, on the Matsuzaka bidding process.
“Instead of trading one of them, I’d rather post him. If you can get that much for a guy that hadn’t pitched here, what are you going to get for some of the guys in our rotation?”
–White Sox GM Kenny Williams, on rumors that he’s shopping some of his starting pitchers.
ON NOT SIGNING WITH THE YANKEES
“The role was to play first base. They were going to DH Giambi. On the guaranteed side, they were a little higher. But that’s just me. I’m going to go where I’m happy.”
–new Phillies third baseman Wes Helms
“There are more teams looking for pitchers than there are pitchers. That’s why it’s pricey.”
“The method to the madness is, the more players you can develop, the more you can keep from being desperate on the free-agent market. You don’t want to be desperate on the free-agent market, because you end up paying dearly. You almost never get fair value on a free agent, so you try to put yourself in a position where you don’t have to go shopping in the free-agent market.”
IF YOU SIGNED ALEX GONZALEZ TO A MULTIYEAR DEAL, YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO TALK TO THE MEDIA EITHER
“I have nothing to announce. When we do, we’ll announce it. It’s the same thing I’ve told everyone else.”
—Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky
EVERYBODY WANTS A FRESH FACE OR, ALTERNATELY, LOU PINIELLA
“I had four chances, so they’d say, ‘Look who’s talking.’ But yeah, it seems a little strange in that respect that minority managers don’t seem to be held in as high esteem as the white managers who are let go. It’s like they had their shot; see you later.”
–Former Nationals manager Frank Robinson, 71
“He led me to believe that he had a real good thing going on in Toronto. The grind of being in Los Angeles and what that would entail wasn’t something he’d be interested in compared to what he had in Toronto.”
—Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, on former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston
“It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating in the sense that you don’t get a chance even to be interviewed. Some people lose a job and you feel they learned from what they went through and they grow from that. But it appears that the industry doesn’t seem to think or want to think there might be some growth in some of us who have lost jobs.”
–former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel
“You don’t feel good about it. You feel good for the guys who were hired. It’s impossible to feel good that you weren’t one of the rehires. But I ain’t in the grave yet. I’m not close to the grave.”
–former Cubs manager Dusty Baker
“In my mind I’m a manager. I still believe I’m one of the better ones.”
–former Cubs manager Don Baylor
DAMN YOU, ART HOWE
“I don’t know what the word is on the street. People say, ‘Oh, yeah, we respect him, but we’re not going to call him.'”
“Art got two jobs.”
–Baylor, on Howe being hired by the Phillies and then becoming Ron Washington‘s bench coach with the Rangers.
“I wasn’t allowed to have him.”
–Frank Robinson, on Jim Bowden not permitting Robinson to hire Don Baylor.
“I’d like to manage, but I would like to manage at the right spot. I’m at the stage where I’d want a ball club that at least going into the season had a chance to win a championship. I’ve had four ball clubs that I had a chance to build into a winner, and that’s a tough way to go. I don’t close the door to managing. I would’ve liked to manage this year.”
A STORYLINE SO ALL-ENCOMPASSING IT EVEN HAS A BASEBALL ANGLE
“Baseball people would raise their eyebrows about Bo, because they couldn’t imagine that someone with a football background could assume the presidency of a baseball club. I then tried to convince them that this man is very qualified to do what he’s doing.”
–former Tigers executive Joe McDonald, on Bo Schembechler, who passed away before this Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game. (Detroit Free Press)
“I never completely blamed Bo. He was part of it. Whatever happened, happened. I know that when you are hired, you are going to get fired. The people who run the organization have a perfect right to let you go. I never had any bitterness about that.”
–former Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell on Schembechler, who, among other missteps, fired him.
“He was a great man for the whole state of Michigan. Outstanding. He was a great football coach. He meant so much not only to the whole state, but also to the university. He built its reputation as a national power. He certainly will be missed.”
“He wanted to talk baseball with me, and I wanted to talk football with him. It was great being around him. He was very well accepted into the group in baseball.”
–Selig (Detroit Free Press)
SO…YOU HAD AN ARTICLE IDEA ABOUT HOW AVERAGE IS VALUABLE. THRILLING. TELL ME MORE
“Is it attractive? Oh yeah. You have to have a great deal of talent to be an average major leaguer. We all like to have a roster of above-average major league players, but that’s not realistic. You’ll have a few above-average players, and you try to sprinkle the rest of the roster with as many average players as you possibly can. There’s value in their performance.”
–Cashman, on the appeal of average players. (The New York Times)
“There’s a misperception that it’s easy to acquire an average player, that those players are readily available. You can’t denigrate that value.”
—Rick Hahn, White Sox Assistant GM
“Those guys are really valuable. You’re not going to find a pitcher in the minors who can make 30 or 32 starts and put up the league average for you.”
–Hahn, speaking of Jeff Francis (35.5 VORP) and Dave Bush (30.9 VORP)
“They may be average, but they look above average to me. They’re definitely closer to positive than negative. You try to make average your minimum, because average is pretty darned good.”
“I was born in the Bronx and grew up a diehard Yankee fan. I loved the way Willie Randolph played, and got a big kick out of meeting him when I was with the Tigers. For me to be playing for him now is a dream come true.”
–new Mets infielder Damion Easley (New York Post)
“I got involved in men’s ministry halfway through my career. I wanted to avoid temptations when I was traveling on the road.”
–Former Detroit Tiger Travis Fryman (Pensacola News-Journal)
“One thing he does is, he decides he wants somebody and he doesn’t mess around. He doesn’t give the other teams a chance. That’s his style. He’s aggressive. He says, ‘Hey, this is a guy I want and I’m going to get him.'”
–Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (MLB.com)
“I can’t speak for the player, but I think our lineup was very appealing to him, our park was appealing to him. And he liked the fact our [rotation] numbers one and two are in place.”
–J.P. Ricciardi, on new Blue Jay Frank Thomas, and the appeal of Toronto’s starting pitching in his decision.
“I bowled a 122. Probably in the upper third, I would think.”
–Pat Gillick, on the early days of the GM meetings. Kevin Towers reportedly had the high score. (MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here.