TWO LIKE SOULS DIVIDED BY I-95
“I deal with all 28 teams. Then, when I’m about to hang up with the 28th team, I say, ‘Hey, do you know what Boston’s up to?'”
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, taking questions with Theo Epstein at William Paterson University on Friday.
“My strong recommendation is we stick with our young pitching staff and keep it in-house. That’s my recommendation, and we’ve fought hard to take one step back to take two giant steps forward.”
“Got into music, and I thought it took a lot away from his play.”
–Cashman, on Bernie Williams‘ last years with the team.
“I took a sleeping pill that night for the first time ever.”
–Epstein, on the night he traded Nomar to the Cubs.
UNITED BY HATRED OF HANK S.
“I didn’t have to clear it with Hank either.”
–Theo Epstein, after a questioner asked Cashman if he had to ask Hank for permission to speak.
“Things kept opening up because people kept getting fired.”
–Brian Cashman, on his rise through the Yankees organization.
“One thing I really respect about Brian is that I’ll usually hear from him when things aren’t going well, for the Red Sox or for me. There’s a certain perspective that only Brian can bring, because he’s been through the same things. And that’s when you find out who your friends are, as opposed to all the calls you get after you’ve won the World Series.”
“Every time the Red Sox get somebody, I’ve got to answer, ‘Why didn’t you get that guy?'”
–Cashman, on working for George Steinbrenner.
“I have been to Africa. If you only knew how hard it was for me to get those bugs in the country and into Cleveland.”
–Epstein, on the flying soldier ants that preceded a Yankee playoff loss in Cleveland. (Mike Puma, New York Post)
I WILL INVOKE CLICHES UNTIL THEY ARE MAD AS HELL AND CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE
“If they don’t want me, [a trade] is the best thing to do. Obviously, they don’t want to keep me because there are a lot more talks [about] trading me than signing me. What am I supposed to do? I just go with the flow. I’ll keep it as it is, and go with it, day by day.”
—Orioles ace Erik Bedard
“We wanted to talk about a multi-year deal and they suggested that they just do a one-year deal. That’s the truth.”
–Orioles president Andy MacPhail
“Let’s just say that I wouldn’t want to be in a rebuilding process, because by the time my contract ends, we’re finally starting to get good. That’s the hard part of rebuilding. It takes a long time, and you need a lot of patience. It’s not just me. I think everybody is [sick of losing], from the ground up.”
“There’s not an offer on the table. They’re playing it both ways. I don’t know how they go about doing their business. It’s none of my business, and I don’t really care. But I would consider it. I’ve enjoyed my time in Baltimore. But everything would have to be right, and it would have to be for what I believe I’m worth.”
–Bedard (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun)
MY CORNER WAS MADE ALL THE WORSE BY THE TERRIBLE YELLOW AND BLACK COLOR SCHEME
“I kind of painted myself into a corner when I said last year that there needed to be some moves made, whether I was part of that or not. And there were some moves, but probably not the type I was referring to. There was a lot of management and coaching moves. I still think there needs to be player moves.”
—Pirates outfielder Jason Bay
“I think that, for a championship-quality team, you need to make more moves. And I’m not talking about the .500 team we can be. I don’t think anyone in this room is going to tell you we’re a championship-quality team. There still needs to be more moves. And you know what? I’m not trying to tell people anything they don’t already know.”
“We’ve had basically the same group the last four years. To think we’re going to win 100 games or go the World Series next year with the exact same team … it would be a little foolish. I’m not saying you need an overhaul, but something’s got to change.”
“We aggressively pursued many pieces for the 2008 team. We can’t sign free agents just to appease the public. We can’t make trades when players are at their lowest value just to make ourselves feel better.”
–Pirates GM Neal Huntington
“That’s the most difficult position to factor. You can throw money at it and be unsuccessful. You can try all-power and be unsuccessful. What we’re trying to do is create options. You see teams all around baseball, Cleveland, Kansas City, Anaheim, and others who succeed all different ways.”
“It comes back to most of our guys being younger and, statistically, it is rational to expect them to be better. They should be getting better. We have a number of players–and they’d be the first to admit this–who underperformed. Look, we’re not preaching that this team is going to contend. We can’t say that. But we can say it will be better. How much better? It’s going to be very, very interesting to see.”
–Huntington (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
WE’RE NOT ONE OF THOSE CLUBS THAT DOESN’T MORTGAGE OUR FUTURE
“We’re not one of those clubs. We’re prepared to move… as I’m sitting here today, I think we will [get a deal done]. I think there’s a good chance of that.”
—Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi, on whether he will deal his prized prospects.
“It’s not as tough to go from where we were in 2004 to where we were last year as it’s going to be to go from 88 wins to where we want to be.”
–Bavasi, on talks to get Orioles ace Erik Bedard.
“We’re at the point now where we have to do our best to make those moves for a top-of-the-rotation guy, so we can slot the rest of the rotation where it should be. For us right now, the most important thing is the top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Not just a No. 2, 3 or 4 guy. A No. 1 guy.”
“I don’t think you can give a club its terms and its price. We can move a premier prospect and numbers [of players], but we’re not going to move a number of premium prospects.”
“Last year, we were able to compete, but at the wrong time stopped competing. We feel we have to make a move–one more move.”
–Bavasi (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
HANK SETS THE RECORD CROOKED
“Don’t make any mistake about it, our teams in the late ’90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody. And they had just as many players doing stuff–all the teams. I guarantee you, go through every team in baseball and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren’t as good as us.”
–Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on whether or not the Yankee greatness of the ’90s was a steroid-fueled mirage.
“You think the Red Sox didn’t have players doing stuff back then? Give me a break. They just weren’t as good as us, and neither was anybody else.”
“I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There’s no question about that because I know how these players develop. But as far as missing the playoffs… if we miss the playoffs, I don’t know how patient I’ll be.”
“But it won’t be against the players. It won’t be a matter of that. It will be a matter of, maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else.”
–Steinbrenner (John Harper, New York Daily News)
BREAKING THE HEARTS OF YOUNG DAN HAREN FANS INCREASES THE FLOW OF SEROTONIN TO HIS HEAD
“This is now the second most exciting time in my career. This is an exciting time for us. This was a decision that I pushed for. We did it to create something special…”
–A’s GM Billy Beane, on his team’s rebuilding process.
“I’m not interested in something that has a chance to be OK and standing up here in January and creating the false illusion that we have a chance to do this or that. I want it to speak for itself, so you guys come to this room every year knowing that we are going to be great. I think that’s what we’re doing right now. In fact, I’m convinced, or I wouldn’t have done it.”
“We’ve all seen franchises try to hold on to something that is not there and they cost themselves an entire decade. I don’t want to do that.”
“We won 75 games last year? Did you remember that? We were one game out of last place. What were we preserving? I want definitive direction in creating something that has long-term benefits.”
–Beane (Jeff Fletcher, The Press-Democrat)
GOT TO BE STARTING SOMETHING
“[It showed that] 50 percent of the things you guys write is not true, and I’m glad that happened.”
—Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, on an erroneous list of Mitchell report names published by St. Louis television station KTVI, among others.
“Since 2001, I’ve been proving myself every year. How much better can I get? Only God knows. Do I need to cheat in this game to get better? This is a hobby, man. I fear God too much to do stupid things in this game. Cheating on this game, that’s not right.”
“I remember from 2001, ‘Oh he’s not 21.’ During the playoffs, they always look for the big names to start things. And now with the steroids, I’ve been getting rocks all over the place, and they keep bouncing off me.”
“If the same problem is happening this year, I don’t think I’m to play the whole year the same way. I sacrificed my body.”
–Pujols, on the elbow injury he has postponed surgery on. (ESPN.com)
TROY, AVOID ANYONE NAMED JESSICA. IT’S NOT WORTH IT, DUDE
“I have a lot of nice clothes now.”
“In baseball more than any other sport, you are going to have your ups and downs. And it’s those special guys who are going to pull you through those down times. Jeter has done that in New York. Biggio did it for years in Houston. When we can get somebody like that who not only has the ability on the field, but the intangibles off it, you want to keep those guys.”
–Rockies owner Charlie Monfort
“If I didn’t think we could win here, I wouldn’t have taken it. Everyone knows the guys on this team are great baseball players, but more than that they are great guys. I thought if we can keep this core together we have the makings of something special. The next step is keeping us together and I believe that’s going to happen.”
“In Denver I don’t get as much attention as Helton and Holliday. When I am with those guys, nobody knows who I am. That’s why I like hanging around with Atkins.”
–Tulowitzki, on teammate Garrett Atkins
“We love Mark DeRosa. But I told this to Mark himself; we have a very honest relationship. No player of his caliber would want to lose his everyday job and have Lou (Piniella) bounce him around to different spots. But the day we wake up in the morning and consciously put one player’s situation above making the ballclub better, that’s the last day we should have these jobs.”
–Cubs general manager Jim Hendry (Bruce Miles, Daily Herald)
“In our discussions with Andruw, we believe that he would like to make Los Angeles a long-term destination. With a two-year deal, that will give us a chance to get to know him and for him to get to know the Dodgers and their great fans. Our hope, and perhaps his hope, is that he is a productive Dodger for a long time and can leave his mark on this franchise, much as he did in Atlanta.”
–Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti (MLB.com)
“I think we definitely gave them a really good deal this last time around. I felt I left quite a bit of money on the table, to be honest. This time around, we expect it to be different.”
—Twins closer Joe Nathan, on negotiating a new deal. (ESPN.com)
“I don’t think he has any basis to say anything like that. Let me put it this way: Questioning a person’s commitment to the team is a very serious accusation, at least in my book.”
–former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, in response to Brian Cashman’s allegations he was too focused on his music.
“Secondly, whether you like it or not, baseball is a game of randomness. We play outdoors (mostly) in changing elements and field dimensions, and each pitch results in a series of events that can go in either teams favor. One thing that I have have come to accept is that just because I train hard physically, I practice perfectly, I prepare diligently, and execute a pitch exactly as I wanted, it can still result in a home run. In golf, if you analyze all the variables correctly (lie, distance, slope, wind, etc.) and execute your swing perfectly, it will result in a great shot. Not so for a pitcher or a hitter. A hitter can swing the bat perfectly and it will result in an out more than six times out of ten. Therefore, as a pitcher, I study and play to put the percentages in my favor more than anything because I know that I can’t control the outcome in a single game or series of games, but over the course of a season or a career I will be better than average.”
—Royals starter Brian Bannister, on the role of chance in baseball. (Tim Dierkes, MLBTradeRumors.com)
“Frank Robinson once told me he was managing for Triple-A down in Baltimore, before he went over to Montreal to manage, and the GM and the farm director were there scouting the top pitching prospects and he got into his pitch count in the sixth inning, and he was in a jam and they left him in to finish it. The pitcher got out of it and then Frank caught flack from the GM and the farm director saying he went over his pitch count. And Frank said, ‘How we are going to find out if he’s got any guts? How is he going to feel good about himself, going in for an early Bud while someone else went in to clean up his mess as opposed to him going out there and feeling really good about himself and getting out of that jam?’ If he does it, then let him go in and have a Budweiser.”
—Keith Hernandez (Matthew Cerrone, Metsblog)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.