PERCEPTION IS THE ONLY REALITY… UNTIL PITCHERS AND CATCHERS
“We made this trade to win now. I mean, it’s obvious.”
–Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, on the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers and Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin to the Marlins.
“I guess now we are just the little engine that could.”
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on the team’s strategy this offseason.
“If we turn the lineup over four times in a game, I like our chances.”
–Royals manager Trey Hillman
“Rocco is the key. Whatever Rocco can do kind of defines everything else that we want to do.”
–Rays manager Joe Maddon, on his oft-injured outfielder, Rocco Baldelli
THE TIGERS WITH THE BIG MEOW
“Miguel Cabrera is a unique player–24 years old, over 100 home runs and 500 RBI. I think you can ask for anything you want and legitimately ask for it. If teams didn’t like that, fine. But to talk about that publicly I think is unprofessional and unnecessary. We do this every day for a living. We don’t always see eye to eye on talent or value, and you move on. But to talk publicly about this is a little bit off base. Absolutely, we were asking a lot for Miguel Cabrera. They recognized that, the Tigers did.”
–Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest, on the dissatisfaction expressed by Arte Moreno and Brian Sabean about their negotiations over Miguel Cabrera.
“The American League’s got a lot of good teams. And when you go through cities like Detroit, if your pitching is not in line, they cannot just beat you–they can beat you up and hurt you for about a week because they just maul you… I’ll tell you what. There are a lot of American League pitchers [and teams] getting real nervous–and we’re one of them.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on the Tigers’ move.
“It’s not a good situation for me at all. In the American League, there are no rollovers. I am very subjective because I am in the AL, but it’s tough. Just look at Toronto and Detroit. Those are good teams that didn’t even make the playoffs.”
–A’s general manager Billy Beane
“As hard as Cleveland worked, that must have been a huge blow for them when they wake up and see Willis and Cabrera land in their division. You try to build from within and do it all the right way. The idea of a level playing field got thrown out of whack.”
–Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine
“There’s no way that the average salary on that team is even going to be close to $500,000.”
–anonymous agent, on the 2008 Marlins.
“I’ll let you know when we find it. I’ll let you know when we get to that point. Every road we travel down, I feel confident that we can do what we need to do. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”
–White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, on his quiet offseason. (Mike Deluca, Chicago Sun-Times)
“All this has done is put the Tigers in a better position to contend with us.”
DO GMS DREAM OF SANTANA SHEEP?
“Once he falls by the wayside–not saying that we’re waiting for that to happen, and I think everyone could probably speak to that–there are a second tier of guys who are probably sitting back waiting. So, yeah, I guess, obviously when Santana goes, wherever he goes, hopefully to us, then everything else will fall into place.”
–Mets manager Willie Randolph, on the Mets’ efforts to obtain Twins pitcher Johan Santana. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I know people say they’d get less for him if they kept him and traded him in July, but I don’t believe that. To be honest, I think they’d get more.”
–anonymous GM (Jayson Stark, MLB.com)
“I think both sides agreed just to have an open dialogue going forward. I don’t see any need at this time to put on a deadline or an ultimatum of any kind. I respect the position they’re in. They have a lot of big issues facing them, and we’ll be there to talk.”
–Red Sox GM Theo Epstein (Gorden Edes, Boston Globe)
“Johan is an awesome pitcher, an incredible talent. Hopefully, it will come to fruition and we’ll have him.”
–Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin. The Sox reportedly offered lefty Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, and pitching prospects Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden for Santana. (Boston Globe)
“He’s a proven commodity. Ellsbury filled in and did a great job, and Covelli didn’t complain. There was certainly some disappointment, but, that being said, he took the high road. But does he feel he belongs in the outfield as a backup? No way. Not taking anything away from Ellsbury, but do I think he’s a better player than Covelli? Absolutely not.”
–Covelli Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte (Rob Bradford, Boston Herald)
A QUOTE NEEDLE IN A MISSOURI HAYSTACK
“That seven hole seems to come up a lot in inning-ending situations. If he makes an out, that just crushes you because you’ve got eight, nine and one in the next inning. You don’t want the one guy coming up with the possibility of being the third out in an inning. I want to get to that No. 8 guy (the previous inning) so we can get to No. 2. You want to grind it out so you can get back and turn (the lineup) over again.”
–new Royals manager Trey Hillman
“You want a guy who can run a little. And if he’s left-handed, that helps keep you out of double plays. And that helps turn the inning over.”
–Hillman, on batting Alex Gordon in the seventh spot.
“If you have a drive-the-ball candidate in that eight slot, with (Gordon) on first base and two outs, you might steal a run if you hit a ball in the gap.”
“My plans, initially, are to keep DeJesus where he was. I like him at the top. I don’t see, and don’t hear from conversations (with coaches and club personnel), that we have a better fit.”
“I like to keep my leadoff guy as stable as possible. As of right now, with David being the primary candidate for that, he’s going to have to be solid left on left. That will be an emphasis for him.”
–Hillman, on leadoff hitter David DeJesus. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)
WHAT DRAWS MY ADMIRATION? WHAT GIVES ME JOY? BASEBALL!
“We’re all still very much pleased with what we’ve got. As far as the door (to a Santana deal) being open, who knows? At this point, Chamberlain, Hughes, Kennedy, Cabrera and Cano, they’re as close to untouchable as you get.”
–Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner
“The only reason I made a point of a deadline on Santana was that I didn’t want to get caught up in the circus of the Winter Meetings. The purpose of that deadline was trying to get something done before the Winter Meetings.”
–Hank Steinbrenner (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
“We’ll see how they play out. We’re pretty much pleased with just about everything. We’re going to work on the bullpen.”
–Hank Steinbrenner, on the Yankees’ plans going forward.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased with our lineup, regardless of whether we’re facing a righty or a lefty. We don’t seem to have much trouble hitting people. You take every potential thing that comes along and see. It could be something you never thought of before. Brian’s working on some things, a couple he’s brought to teams, a couple that have been brought to him.”
“It’s no secret that Billy Beane will be asking a lot for Haren. He could want more than Minnesota wanted, and that’s unacceptable.”
–Hank, telling the media why what Billy Beane wants for Dan Haren is “unacceptable.” (Joel Sherman, New York Post)
THE PHI BETA KAPPAS…
“These are long days; you put a lot into it. When a deal gets pretty close and ultimately looks like it’s not going to happen, it is frustrating. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.”
–D’backs general manager Josh Byrnes
“I think a lot of teams are maybe looking at the prospects who haven’t got quite as much attention, yet have a chance to be good Major League players nonetheless.”
–Byrnes (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“You’re either rebuilding for something special, or you’re on the verge of something special. To be in between is foolish.”
“It could pose a problem…if we moved something else, it could solve the problem.”
…AND THE ANIMAL HOUSE
“We would have liked to do something if it improved the ballclub. I feel good about our team right now. We added (Francisco) Cordero as a major piece to the team. We still want to solidify the starting rotation and add an arm or two to compete for one of those spots. Nothing’s changed, we’re still looking for pitching.”
–Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on his off-season moves.
“There’s nothing Ichiro can’t do. I kind of mentioned to him last spring training, I’m going to say I told him, ‘If you had 15 more bunt hits, you would hit .400.’ He was looking at me and thinking hard. He’s such a structured player and I don’t want to change anything. He can’t be much better than he already is, but I just kind of planted the seed.”
–Mariners manager John McLaren (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“We heard some talk that he might be picked. That’s an indication that our system is getting better when the decisions on the 40-man roster get more difficult. When you lose someone in the Rule 5 it’s usually an indication your system is getting better.”
–Krivsky, on Double-A reliever Carlos Guevara (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Post)
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE’S UNHAPPY THAT A PSYCHOTIC WORKAHOLIC WITH AN ARMY OF PERSONAL DEMONS IS HIS BOSS
“It’s very clear that he’s unhappy. And I’m making it clear that I don’t understand why he’s unhappy. I told somebody the other day, I can make a list of 50 respect points that this man has been given by our organization. It’s time for him to give back.”
–Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on third baseman Scott Rolen.
“He’s got a contract to play, and we need him to play. And he’s going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays. If he doesn’t, he’ll sit. If he doesn’t like it, he can quit.”
“I’ve had a long career, and I can’t remember ever being as a combination of mystified and concerned as I am about this situation. Because speaking for any level of the organization, he has received first-class consideration, respect, gratuities.”
–Tony La Russa, apparently in a state of blissful deletion when it comes to memories of managing Jose Canseco.
YEAH, SCOTT, WHAT ABOUT THAT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TONY GAVE YOU?
“In the end, I just simplify it. I think he has put some things together in his mind, and I think he needs to understand that the Cardinals have given him a lot since he’s been here. He’s been given a contract. He’s been given a couple World Series appearances. He’s been given a world championship. And he’s given back some, but he needs to give back more. We need him.”
“I think he’s strong-minded enough that I don’t see his opinion changing on a personal basis. And it’s gotten to the point that I don’t care. What I care about is that he re-establish his stature as a major league-productive star. And that’s one of the points I’ve tried to make to him.”
“So we’ll make our inquiries, but the whole idea isn’t to please Scott. It’s to take care of the St. Louis Cardinals. And I keep saying it, I don’t understand. I told him this. He’s never given me an explanation. I don’t understand why he can be down on the Cardinals, and I don’t understand why he can be down on me.”
–La Russa (Matthew Leach, MLB.com)
WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS YOU $3.2 MILLION DOLLARS TO THROW A BASEBALL, THE MACHINATIONS ARE BESIDES THE POINT
“It’s a giant move, and I have to make a decision if I want to go forward. This is going to change my life, my family’s life. If I leave them here, they’re going to have to be without me for a full year. If I take them with me, they’re going to be affected.”
–new Brewer bullpennist Salomon Torres
“I just need to talk to my family. I can tell you this: If I go to Milwaukee, I’m going to give my heart and soul to the Brewers. If I stay, I’ll be the same way. I’ll be the one playing with my daughters and son and maybe even doing some of the cooking. It’s a big decision, and I’m going to base it on my family.”
–Torres (Deja Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The thing that gets me is that if you look at Jim Rice’s numbers now and you just say A) he was one of the best hitters, if not the best, in baseball for a very long time, and he did it without the use of performance-enhancing steroids. You look at his season in 1978, he was the MVP. He hit .315, had 46 HR, and 139 RBIs, and he had a terrific stretch of 100+ RBI and 30+ home run years. This was all done in a pre-steroid, pre-tightly woven baseball era. If you’re a writer who follows the game closely, you have to adjust the numbers. I mean, 46 home runs then would be 60 today. It’s unfortunate that it is so number-driven and not enough performance-driven.”
–Former MLB pitcher Jim Kaat, on Jim Rice’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame. (YESNetwork.com)
“Giles talked to Bradley, and he said he doesn’t know if he’s wanted here. Now why the hell would we offer him a contract ($4 million for one year) if we didn’t want him? This is a very good player.”
–Padres GM Towers (Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“I never said Juan Pierre is a franchise player. He’s a very good player on a winning team.”
–Dodgers GM Ned Colletti (Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times)
“I have no intention of being there next summer. And I have no intention of working for the Hall. I am dedicating the next oral history book to Marvin. Little can be consoling, but we should all not forget these idiots.”
–former MLB commissioner Fay Vicent, on the election of Bowie Kuhn to the Hall of Fame in contrast to the continued candidacy of Marvin Miller. (Murray Chass, The New York Times)
“What’s going on in the AL would be a lot better if they added another playoff berth.”
–Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi (Jayson Stark, MLB.com)
“What they’ve been able to do that other people haven’t is charge consumers for digital content. There’s only a couple of places where that’s really caught on at all (music and video games).”
—David Card, senior analyst at JupiterResearch. (Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today)
“There’s going to be, for lack of a better term, a Francona Rule. You can only wear your uniform top or jacket. You can’t wear your nightshirt, or whatever it is. You can wear it before games, or after games, but not during games. You have to have your uniform top at all times.”
–MLB vice president and fashion cop Bob Watson (Rob Bradford, Boston Herald)
“Damn! That was it. My wife grew up with Dontrelle’s aunt. I was like, man, we could have rode to spring training together.”
–Reds manager Dusty Baker on Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky’s efforts to acquire now Detroit Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus