A LEGEND ON AND OFF THE GOLF COURSE
“I still think I can play the game, but not as well as I would like to, so it’s time to say goodbye.”
-Retired starter Greg Maddux
“Dick Tidrow, a scout for the Giants, talked his way into our locker room early one season because he wanted to see how Maddux prepared for a game. He walked in and saw Maddux doing a crossword puzzle. Several months later Tidrow did the same thing. Maddux looked up from his crossword puzzle when he saw him and said, ‘You again?'”
–Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, on Maddux.
“I really enjoyed playing golf on the road over the years with the guys. To me, that was a lot of fun. That made it even more enjoyable when you went to the ballpark. I think you were-mentally, you always had that break, instead of sitting in the hotel room all day waiting for the game to start. I’ll miss the plane flights, and poker games on the flights were always fun. Just hanging out with the guys.”
“You know, to share that, like with Smoltzy, Glav, Kevin Millwood, all of the guys that I had a chance to pitch with. It was pretty cool, just to go there and actually learn how to have fun, and play golf between starts. Smoltzy always had something set up, and that was pretty cool. Just the opportunity to meet people from all over the country on the golf course, and at the same time, win every year; and have such enjoyment to go to the park every day. I think winning creates that, and it was nice to be a part of it.”
“It seems like there’s always one or two on every team that have a chance to do something special. You just hope they want to. You hope they want to sleep, eat, and drink baseball, and do those kinds of things.”
“Vegas is home, and it’s always been home. I grew up here. My dad and mom brought us here, brought me here when I was young, and we’ve always lived here. We’ve had a home here. I met my wife here. My brother and sister grew up here. My brother doesn’t live here anymore, but he’ll probably be back here shortly. Vegas has always been home. The way baseball is, you can get traded or change teams pretty much any time, and it’s always nice to have a home.”
–Maddux, on living in Las Vegas.
“I think it was important for me to never let the city I play in be home. It was always like my second home. It was never, like, the home. It just made things a little bit easier for me where you don’t feel like you have to be in the same place the whole time. You knew the base was going to be there for you, and you knew that’s where you were going to have holidays and Thanksgivings and Christmases. And maybe now we’ll even have the Fourth of July.”
AM I NOT DESTROYING MY ENEMIES WHEN I MAKE FRIENDS OF THEM?
“Omar and I are not just peers-we’re also friends.”
–Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, on completing a three-team trade that sent Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle and brought second baseman Luis Valbuena and reliever Joe Smith to Cleveland in return.
“We were dealing from an area of great depth for us in the outfield.”
“There were a lot of moving parts, and everybody satisfied what they needed to get done. I hope we look back a year from now and see it worked out for everybody.”
“I just told Omar that, if you can get a Valbuena in addition to Smith, we would do it.”
–Shapiro (Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com)
SAYING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS AS HE GETS RID OF THE OLD, INFIRM, AND JUST PLAIN BAD
“What our goals were in Seattle were to try to upgrade the talent level, to try to help our ballclub immediately and long-term. And in doing this, with acquiring this many players, we think that we’ve taken a step in that direction.”
–Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik
“But it’s a great deal for him. I want to congratulate him, because he deserves this.”
SOOPER SERIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE ACCEPTED ARBITRATION
“When a major league team approaches you about a player and offers them a contract, I guess that’s serious. I think that Tek has always been a person-he’s the captain of a team in the major leagues, which is a rare event. And certainly, Boston has let us know, ‘We want him back.’ We’re talking about it, but we also have to go out and look into other situations that might be [available] to him.”
–Jason Varitek‘s agent Scott Boras
“I’m not going to talk about values, but obviously, Jason Varitek is a guy that I think teams know what his value is. I think it’s clear he’s going to be employed and do very well.”
“We didn’t spend much time on it when we learned it wouldn’t be a crash course, it would be a degree program.”
-Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on pursuing Varitek.
“The catching market is probably the hardest one to predict, particularly for journalists. Because the fact is, teams that have existing catchers don’t come out and say that they’re unhappy with their catchers because they can’t find better catchers. So until they know they can acquire a catcher, they often don’t let you know that there’s an opening.”
–Boras (Ian Browne, MLB.com)
DO THE PEOPLE OF QUEENS STILL REMEMBER WHAT A SAVE SOUNDS LIKE?
“That never came out of my mouth. And I believe it never came out of the mouth of my agent. I think I’m comfortable and happy with what I have right now. I’m really happy with the city of New York. I’m really happy with where I’m at. There’s no question about it.”
–Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez
“When I let it fly last year, the velocity was there, no question. I had to lose a little bit of arm speed because I wanted to throw the new pitch with the same arm speed. To me, you guys are going to see it next year. You guys are going to see it in spring training and going forward the rest of the season. There were some changes I had to make early in the year last year, and that’s why I feel like [my velocity] went down two or three miles from where it was.”
“We started again about 2 a.m. and didn’t finish until 5:30. We didn’t sleep that night. It was about 8:30 back in New Jersey, so I called my wife and told her to tell my son we got K-Rod.”
-Mets general manager Omar Minaya
“I wasn’t surprised. It was really a coincidence. He was calling Tony [Bernazard] to say ‘what’s up, how are you doing,’ so I wasn’t surprised at all. I had a chance to talk to him a little bit. He told me all the best things about New York, and some of the bad things too.”
–K-Rod, on being romanced by Johan Santana.
MILLIONS FLOW INTO PLAYERS’ POCKETS SIGNIFYING NOTHING
“The one difference is that the Yankees are loading up on pitching while the Tigers did get Dontrelle, [but] there were still questions about their bullpen and their starting rotation. If the Yankees get another guy [Burnett], re-sign Andy Pettitte on top of Sabathia, I’ll take my chance that they might be the best team in the American League.”
–Anonymous front-office executive (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“After the Pavano thing-I know he’s got better stuff than Pavano, but I guess they were really anxious to rebuild that rotation.”
–Anonymous AL scout, on the signing of A.J. Burnett.
“So why then would the first instinct of an observer be that since the Yankees did something big, that we have to do something big? I think the first reaction should be: OK, the Yankees did something big to improve themselves. The Red Sox are probably going to continue to do what they have done.”
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein (Jack Curry, The New York Times)
“There’s always work to be done, and there’s always ways to improve teams. I think Cash has been pretty vocal about wanting to improve some things this offseason. If this were to happen, it’s a great first step, but I’m sure he’s not finished.”
–Derek Jeter (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)
“They have to change it. They’re going to still have a Veterans Committee, but it should go back to where it was when Bill Mazeroski got in. I think they should have a committee of maybe 12 guys that vote, that’s the way to do it. Evaluate everyone, but instead of having all the [Hall of Fame] players vote, maybe just a couple players, a couple broadcasters, a couple writers … a much smaller group. That’s how [Joe] Gordon got in.”
-Former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, on how he can get into the Hall of Fame. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
“We feel that Scott will help balance our bullpen. Given his success against left-handed hitters over the last several seasons, he provides us another weapon late in games.”
–Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, on acquiring reliever Scott Schoeneweis.
“It’s a bit of a waiting game right now. Early on, we had five or six teams in the mix, but since then there have been a couple of teams who have picked up closers. Am I worried? No, I’m not worried. It’s a good thing, actually. In one sense, there are two teams gone, but it also narrows the field down a little bit. I’m the last top-end closer left. There are some other closers out there, but not many with my kind of experience or the track record I’ve had.”
-Free-agent reliever Brian Fuentes
“I think this is just what we needed, a new environment where what’s happened the last couple of years, we can learn from it, but we can kind of put it behind us and bring a new idea over to Citi Field… I’m excited about it, not only because it’s new, but it kind of represents for me a blank board where we can begin to pursue new goals, and not necessarily have an anchor with us of the last couple of years.”
-Mets third baseman David Wright (Kevin Kernan, New York Post)
“Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. If Jake’s ever going to accept anything to the American League-and I don’t want this to be taken wrong-I can safely say that it’s going to be the Yankees or Red Sox, or maybe the Angels. Those teams are going to be in contention and are going to spend money. If there were circumstances where he would be asked to go to the AL, kicking and screaming, those are the three places.”
–Jake Peavy‘s agent Barry Axelrod (Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“This is just the next chapter in the life of a baseball player. What do they say? ‘If you haven’t been traded, released, booed, or aired out by your manager, you haven’t played long enough.'”
-Mariners pitcher Aaron Heilman (Marty Noble, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.