A SYRINGE OF RESPECT, MIKE. A SYRINGE.
“I’m angry that what I’ve done for the game of baseball and the personal, in my private life, what I’ve done that I don’t get the benefit of the doubt. The stuff that’s being said, it’s ridiculous. It’s hogwash for people to even assume this. Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike. You’d think I’d get an inch of respect. An inch. How… how can you prove your innocence?”
–former pitcher Roger Clemens, on being named in the Mitchell Report, on 60 Minutes.
“If he’s putting that stuff up in my body, if what he’s saying which is totally false, if he’s doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth.”
“He emails me and asks me where all the good fishing equipment is down at Cabo that I bought so he can go fishing. Thank you very much. I said, Have a good time, go fishing. Doesn’t say a word that you, that you know I’m fixing to bury you with all these accusations and what do we do about it. Didn’t say a word about it. That’s what pisses me off.”
–Clemens, on Brian McNamee, Mitchell’s source for the allegations against Clemens.
“I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles. And now that, now these people who are supposedly regulating it, tell me it’s bad for my heart. I don’t know what the future holds because of the medicine that I’ve eaten, but I trusted that it was not harmful. And I didn’t wanna put anything in my body that was harmful.”
“And that’s our country, isn’t it? Guilty before innocent. That’s the way our country works now. And then everybody’s talking about sue, sue, sue. Should I sue? Well, let me exhaust. Let me, let me just spend. How about, let’s keep spending. But I’m gonna explore what I can do and then I want to see if it’s gonna be worth it, worth all the headache.”
–Clemens (60 Minutes)
DESTROYER OF HOPE, REBUILDER OF FARM SYSTEMS
“I got off the plane from the winter meetings; I said to David, ‘Who are we kidding?’ We can’t let hope be our strategy here. That’s what we’re doing. … We can’t waste another year. If this needs to be done, it needs to be done.”
–A’s general manager Billy Beane, on his approach this offseason
“Our status quo as we stood going into the season was mediocrity at best. That’s my opinion. If anything, we’re taking a step back with the idea we have a chance to build something very good for a long time. … The cost of indecision for us probably would be a bigger mistake.”
“Swisher was not a player who was on the market. They did not want to
move him. So we had to make it attractive enough for them to move him.”
—White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, on dealing two pitching prospects and outfielder Ryan Sweeney for Nick Swisher.
“When Billy does something, he goes full force.”
–A’s outfielder Mark Kotsay
“Dude, it’s unbelievable. I was like, ‘Well, we are going young. Wait… Swisher is young.’ We’re going with the youth movement, baby. At least Billy is committed to it. He’s not half-assing it.”
–A’s third baseman Eric Chavez (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
CALLING THE GM WHO TRADED YOU A GENIUS IS PAR FOR THE COURSE IN OAKLAND
“Oakland was a great spot for me. I have no hard feelings. Billy Beane gave me my shot and he’s a genius. He knows what he’s doing. … He’s got a game plan and going to stick to that.”
–new White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher
“This whole winter we’ve been gauging the health of our club. We were injured last year. When we got into the winter, we weren’t optimistic it was going to be any different. If we stayed status quo, we weren’t going anywhere anyway. I looked at the club and at best we’d be a 72-to-81 (win) team.”
“He was probably our biggest asset. We didn’t need one player; we needed multiple players, and Danny was the best shot at doing that.”
–Beane, on trading Dan Haren.
“You have to. There’s plenty of people grading you even before the deal is announced. It would be foolish not to look back and see what we learned.”
–Beane, on whether he looks back at his deals.
“I was definitely a little surprised. … But no hard feelings on my end. I understand it’s a business. The one thing that’s super exciting is that the White Sox wanted me, or they wouldn’t have given up what they did.”
–Swisher (Murray Chass, The New York Times)
THIS IS MY LAST INTERVIEW OF THE HOUR! I’M TIRED OF THE MEDIA BADGERING ME!
“I either have to do it [a Santana deal] or don’t do it, same thing for the Red Sox, I guess. I think the Twins would like to keep him, so I don’t think there’s any hurry on anyone’s part. It all depends on what he asks for in an extension. You obviously have to be very careful with pitchers, for obvious reasons.”
—Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner
“Nothing is really decided at this point. I’m still leaning towards doing it. There’s others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I’ve changed my opinion a couple times.”
–Steinbrenner, on a trade that would send Philip Hughes and prospects to the Twins for Johan Santana.
“I always told him, ‘I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.’ He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”
–Steinbrenner, on general manager Brian Cashman. (Peter Abraham, The Journal News)
“We’re not desperate, so we’re not going to chase anything… In the next two weeks, we’re going to have to get everything done.”
“I think the Twins realize our offer is the best one. I feel confident they’re not going to trade him before checking with us one last time and I think they think we’ve already made the best offer.”
UNFORTUNATELY, HIS CONTRACT SAID ‘FULL AUTHORITY UNTIL MY SON GETS BORED WITH HORSE RACING’
“The dynamics are changing with us. When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter. I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But one thing is that I’ve been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years. So I’m focused fully on doing everything I possibly can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers.”
“Because of all the work that gets involved with doing the job, it kind of prevents me from really looking ahead past this year. I’m just doing everything I possibly can to assist the transition with the new manager, the new owners, with the involvement now with the Steinbrenner sons. And then the rest will take care of itself at another time.”
“Right now, the Red Sox and Yankees, at least, are in the middle of this Johan Santana stuff. What’s the right thing for the now? What’s the right thing for the future? These are the wrestling matches that go on in the organizations and you have very spirited conversations about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
–Cashman (Peter Abraham, Lo-Hud Daily News)
BACK TO THE FUTURE
“I now use a Diffie-Hellman key exchange so that I don’t have to walk around with it chained to my wrist anymore. The reality is that my use of a computer wasn’t novel at the time, and there isn’t a front office person, scout, or field staff who doesn’t utilize a computer these days.”
—Padres executive Paul DePodesta, on the “Moneyball computer.”
“Billy and I remain close. Though he provided me a startling opportunity and taught me an incredible amount, our friendship has never centered solely on baseball. Our relationship has always been more fraternal than professional, and I think that will always be the case.”
–DePodesta, on his relationship with Billy Beane.
“Every deal is different, and it depends on the parties involved. There are numerous close relationships between people in Oakland and people in San Diego, so that type of deal would be easier to begin, negotiate, or end via email. As I recall, though, there were definitely some phone conversations that took place as well. It is not unusual, though, for a GM to start a discussion via an idea email to another GM.”
“I think makeup is critical. This game is a grind, and consequently it takes tremendous mental toughness to succeed. Makeup is often what separates the championship players from the rest of the pack. Nobody on talent alone is a championship player. The chemistry element, which I think you’re hinting at, is much trickier. I don’t know that anyone has figured out the alchemy involved there. I don’t think many people would doubt its importance, but I for one question our ability to manufacture it. You’re talking about very complex interactions.”
–DePodesta, on his approach to makeup in prospect valuation. (R.J. Anderson, Beyond the Box Score)
IT SHALL BE CALLED THE ZIMMERMAN PRINCIPLE
“We will always have competition at almost every position except third base. There will be competition at all times.”
—Nationals general manager Jim Bowden
“Cristian Guzman, who hit over .300 until he got hurt, will come into spring training as the shortstop. That being said, we all know Felipe Lopez has the potential to be better than both Belliard and Guzman.”
“I was surprised by Lastings because I have known him since high school. But the one thing I have learned in this game: In this day and age with media and the Internet, when you make mistakes in your life, they are magnified. Everybody reads about the mistakes a lot of times and then people begin to say this is a troubled person. We read where Lastings made a mistake when he was 17 years old and we read after he hit a home run, he was high-fiving fans at Shea Stadium. [The critics read] that and they came to [negative] conclusions based on two incidents in his life. Most of the people who say this have never sat down with Lastings. They never met his dad, mom and friends.”
–Bowden, on criticisms of Lastings Milledge‘s makeup.
“Elijah’s case is a little bit different because he has made a lot of mistakes in his life. He earned the criticism he gets. He understands that. He is a man and he is taking accountability for the mistakes he has made. He is trying to correct them. We are going to do everything we can to help him become a really good person.”
–Bowden, on outfielder Elijah Dukes. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
“It made it look like a lop-sided report. Plus, don’t forget, the Yankees have so many people coming through there on a year-to-year basis. We changed over quite often, whether it would be a player for the month of May, a player for the month of September. But I think the big part of it was the access, where these two people were both based in New York.”
—Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on the number of Yankees in the Mitchell Report (Ronald Blum, Yahoo! Sports)
“There is no need to trade Brandon [Inge] before spring training starts. However, if it makes sense to do so, we will. We will try and honor his request to play every day at third base.”
—Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
“His offensive value is, in my opinion, well below average for a corner player, and I do view ’06 as an aberration based upon his major league and minor league career performance. He is still a player with great value due to his total package.”
–anonymous MLB official, on Brandon Inge
“If you look at the industry and the quality of catching at all levels–big league, minor league, amateur–it’s all over the place. For us, it’s a strength. Some people may look at it as a logjam or that we have decisions to make, but I look at it as you can’t have enough of a good thing.”
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on his team’s options at the catcher position. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
“I’m passing. I had a chance to review the Jose Canseco (material) that he provided me. I don’t think there’s a book there. I don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t think he’s got what he claims to have, certainly doesn’t have what he claims to have on A-Rod. There’s no meat on the bones.”
–former Sports Illustrated editor Don Yeager, on turning down a chance to collaborate with Jose Canseco.
“I was going to cut the best deal I could. We put him in the marketplace and worked out the best deal on the table. We would’ve gravitated in any direction. You try to solve your needs.”
–Cashman, on trading Gary Sheffield last offseason.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. If he’s in uniform next year, there’s a 90 percent chance it will be with the Oakland A’s. It will be old, broken-down guys–me, Kotsay, and Barry–and a bunch of 19-year-olds.”
–Chavez, on Barry Bonds.
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.