WAITING FOR THAT HALL CALL
“I’d say that coming down with lupus hurt my chances of being a shoo-in, really. I had 2,000 hits way before Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. Injuries were the difference between getting to 3,000 hits and doing a few other things. All of that took a lot of at-bats away from me. If it wouldn’t have happened, we wouldn’t be talking about it right now. I feel like I’d be a first-ballot player.”
–Tim Raines, candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame
“It’s too bad Davey Concepcion played before the ‘web gem’ era. Because his defensive genius would have been highlighted on national television every night.”
-former Reds catcher Johnny Bench, on teammate Davey Concepcion’s Hall of Fame candidacy.
“Sometimes you’ll have writers that are lazy. And they don’t want to come to the guys that don’t speak English. They would only go to the guys they could talk to.”
-former Reds shortstop Davey Concepcion
“I will pass out. I’ve been waiting for it all my life. I’m excited about it. I can’t tell you how happy I’m going to be.”
-Concepcion, on what he’ll do if he makes it in the Hall of Fame. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
HE HAS A POODLE THAT SUBSISTS PURELY ON SHREDDED DOLLAR BILLS, BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE ALEX
“Yeah, (Boras) made his commission but, come on, do you know how much money he has? With Boras it’s all about being king of the jungle, the most powerful agent and the toughest negotiator in the game. He loves being the guy that everyone in baseball fears. He wouldn’t for a minute concoct a plan that would diminish his reputation. His image as a god to the players is too important to him.”
“A-Rod might not be the most popular guy in the game, but don’t think he didn’t do some serious damage to Boras’ image. He basically called the guy a lying weasel on national TV. Nobody in the business is shedding any tears for Boras, believe me, but he took a serious hit.”
“And Boras didn’t seem comfortable dealing with the Yankees about A-Rod once George Steinbrenner was out of the picture. He had a relationship with George, who always said that Boras was a tough but fair negotiator. But Hank and Hal (Steinbrenner) didn’t play up to him. Hal, especially, was tough with him. Boras didn’t like dealing with Hal.”
“He has tried to call more than once. Alex hasn’t taken the calls.”
-anonymous source close to A-Rod (John Harper, New York Daily News)
AFTER ALL, THIS IS AMERICA
“We don’t want to turn this into a circus. We just want to know what Major League Baseball plans to do about their problems. We understand the collective bargaining agreement complicates matters, but we’d like to see if they agree with Senator George Mitchell’s recommendations, and move on.”
-Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican from Virginia, on the Mitchell Report.
“If players believe they are wrongfully accused in the report, they are welcome to volunteer and we’ll take it under consideration. But as I understand it, all these players had a chance to cooperate [with Mitchell], and everyone declined to cooperate.”
“So, to an extent, that’s what they get.”
-Davis, showing a little fuzziness on the details of Mitchell’s offer.
LOU PINIELLA IS THE VILLAIN OF THIS AFTER-SCHOOL SPECIAL
“It was like, ‘You don’t hit for enough power. We want you to hit for power. And for you to be able to stay on this team, you’re going to have to hit for power. I hit 12 to 13 home runs every year in the minor leagues, and now all of sudden my major league manager is telling me we want more power out of you.”
–Shane Monahan, former Mariner, on pressure to do steroids.
“In locker rooms, you kind of look at your teammates and go, ‘Well, he’s on it, he’s on it, well, he might be on it…’ And it is kind of like you don’t really say anything. You don’t go up to somebody and say, ‘Hey, are you taking steroids?’ They’ll slap you.”
“There were two or three guys. You’d go up to them and say, ‘Hey, I need some greenies. What is it going to take?’ Well, it might be 100 bucks here. It is a jersey here, or a dozen baseballs and two bats. And you’d give it to him.”
“If Senator Mitchell wants to brush that off, then basically they have accomplished nothing. Almost everybody takes greenies. I was in the locker room for two years with the Mariners, and I’ll be honest with you: The only person that I didn’t see take greenies was Dan Wilson. He was a big Christian guy, big moral guy. He just didn’t believe in the stuff.”
-Monahan (Mike Fish, ESPN.com)
SAY WHAT YOU WANT, BUT HE PUT THE WORK IN
“I was his hitting coach in Boston. After he got traded to the Angels, we kept in touch. He had those great years in Boston and if he hadn’t got hurt in California and hadn’t messed up his knee, he was on his way to being a Hall of Famer. He had become a great hitter because he had a burning desire to be the best hitter. When he went to New York and hurt his knee, I would fly out to Boston every couple of weeks and we’d work all day at his house. He would tell me, ‘Mike, I’ve got to get back. I have to play. It’s New York. There’s a lot of pressure on me.’ And I’m telling you, he spent so much time perfecting his swing, trying to find new ways mechanically to get better.”
–Dodgers minor league hitting coach Mike Easler, on Mo Vaughn.
“He got everything he ever could out of himself. This guy could really hit for an infielder. You should have seen the pride Fernando had in his game and wanting to be the best. When he hurt his knee, it just devastated him. He pushed himself so much.”
-Easler on Fernando Viña.
“This will be my 20th year in the major leagues, and I don’t even know what a steroid looks like. If I have to start relying on those things, after so many years in the game, then it’s time to pack it in. That’s the way I look at things.”
–Phillies starter Jamie Moyer
“This was a tremendously dedicated baseball player.”
-Easler on Mark McGwire
“You find the best trainers available, the best training methods available, and you go out there and bust your ass.”
-Mariners outfielder Raul Ibañez (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
TAKE IT FROM A-ROD, IT’S BETTER TO PLAY HARD-TO-GET
“I would imagine probably I’ll get a call and maybe be invited to spring training again. So I’ll just wait and see. If they don’t call, I won’t go. I’ve got to make sure that they want me to go.”
-former Yankees pitching coach Ron Guidry
“I talked to Joe when he signed with the Dodgers. But there were things going on with the Dodgers, and that was fine.”
“Joe explained some things, and I said: ‘Hey, that’s fine. I didn’t call to see if I can get a job. I just called to see how you were doing.'”
-Guidry. (Joe Brescia, New York Times)
HIGH ON SOMETHING…HGH MAYBE?
“I am very high on Brandon Morrow.”
-Mariners manager John McLaren, on Morrow’s grip on a spot in the starting rotation.
“Horacio Ramirez has a strength coach, and he’s been building himself up. I talked to him the other day, and I liked what I heard. He had some spurts where he pitched well for us last year.”
“And Ryan Rowland-Smith did a nice job when he was in Venezuela, too.”
“If we start the season with what we have now, I’m confident we’ll be competitive. I’m very happy with the addition of Silva, who’s an innings-eater who throws strikes. When you throw in Baek and Feierabend, we’ve got some options and some versatility going into the spring.”
-McLaren (John Hickey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
THE HOPE DISEASE IS AIRBORNE AND COLLECTING OVER MINNESOTA
“We have four players for three positions. We have two right-handed hitters [Brendan Harris, Adam Everett], a lefty [Mike Lamb], and a switch-hitter [Nick Punto]. I’m not worried about our infield.”
–Twins general manager Bill Smith
“Right now, Johan Santana is our Opening Night starter against the Los Angeles Angels and Torii Hunter, and I like our chancess. That’s not a bad thing for Mr. Gardenhire to be able to pencil in Johan Santana as the starter on Opening Night.”
-Twins president Dave St. Peter
“That remains our goal, our first choice, and I’m not going to veer from that. We are comfortable with that scenario if that’s the best thing for the Twins’ organization.”
-St. Peter (Charley Walters, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
“I don’t know how many votes he’s going to get, [but] I’ll vote for him. Brady was pretty much my best friend in baseball, and I enjoyed spending time with him. It’s really weird now, because I don’t get a chance to see him as much. We get busy doing other things. As he refers to it, it’s the offseason all the time now. Brady’s in fantastic shape and it looks like he can still play. I guess he’s on the ballot because he’s been out five years now. I didn’t know he was out that long. It seemed like he was still playing long after I retired.”
-former Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., on Brady Anderson. (Spencer Fordin, MLB.com)
“Darin is one of the prototypical professional baseball players. He’s made a career out of playing the game the right way. Darin is a veteran who brings a lot to our club and will really help us.”
–Astros GM Ed Wade, on his decision to sign Darin Erstad. (Brian McTaggert, Houston Chronicle)
“The winter meetings were in Toronto in 1979, and I took a bus from Clinton, New York. I spent five days there. It was reading period before final exams, and I tried to explain to my professors that it was job-related. They weren’t buying it.”
-Twins general manager Bill Smith, a Hamilton grad. (Murray Chass, New York Times)
“Very good, well-respected people are sometimes wrong. They are wrong not through malice, not through intent, but they are wrong. None of us is beyond making a mistake.”
–Roger Clemens‘ lawyer Rusty Hardin (Duff Wilson, New York Times)
“There are still some things we can do. There are a lot of players out there looking for jobs still.”
–Brewers GM Doug Melvin, on his offseason so far.
“I think the one thing we’re excited about is for the first time in seven years we’re going to have extra picks in the draft. We’re going to get four picks for Cordero and Linebrink. Our reports on Eric in Texas were very good. Obviously, he didn’t fare as well in Boston out of his normal role, but his stuff was still good.”
-Doug Melvin, on the upshots of his switching around his bullpen by letting Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink leave as free agents, and bringing in Eric Gagné to close. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.