THE GREATEST TRICK THE DEVIL EVER PULLED WAS LYING ABOUT AN UNDISCLOSED OFFER FROM A MYSTERY TEAM
“We all have limits. Eight years is a very long time in baseball and everywhere else. … Baseball as a whole has not yet been hit by the financial crisis, but it will. The degree is in question, and won’t be answered for a while.”
–Red Sox owner John Henry, on bowing out of the negotiations for Mark Teixeira.
“I mean, that’s a big move, and it definitely shows the rest of the players-everybody else in the clubhouse, everybody else in the organization-that it’s time for a change. Whether we get Tex or not, just trying to get him shows everybody else in the clubhouse that it’s time to win. … God knows, I hope Tex comes here.”
–Nationals utilityman Willie Harris, on his desire for the Nationals to nab free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.
“He would kind of shock the baseball world if he signed with them. But I think they were just waiting and trying to identify the right guy to build around. With Zimmerman at third base, Teixeira at first-those are two guys to build around for quite some time. Even though it’s a huge financial commitment, that’s two guys. And to get to the point where you can be competitive, you need that strong middle of the order.”
–Padres general manager Kevin Towers, on Teixeira signing with the Nationals.
“If we add a guy like Mark Teixeira to the team, that would be great. You never know-I might be the guy traded. But I don’t mind it; I get to play baseball for a living.”
-Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis (Chico Harlan, Washington Post)
MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING, BUT IT SURE KEEPS YOU IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CHILDREN
“The extra year, the seventh year. It plays a part in everything. Like I said, the most important thing is winning. Just talking to Reggie about what it means to be a Yankee and how people receive you here… I’m moving my family out here, we’re going to live here year round, and we’re excited to be here.”
–Yankees starter CC Sabathia, at a press conference to announce his contract with the team.
“I told him when you go to New York you’ve got to know you can handle it. He turned to me and said, ‘I think I can handle it.’ And I said, ‘No, that’s not good enough, you’ve got to know you can handle it before you make a commitment like that.’ That’s when he turned to me and said, ‘I know I can handle it.’ And I believe him. He’s got thick skin and he’s done everything he’s ever put his mind to do. He’ll be very good there.”
–Indians special assistant to the general manager Ellis Burks, on CC Sabathia. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“Roy pounded it in my head that I don’t have to throw 98 every day. I don’t have to go full-tilt, that I can win ballgames and be successful pitching at 94, 95, and 96. I threw a handful of two-seamers in ’07, and that was probably half of my arsenal last year.”
–A.J. Burnett at the same press conference.
“No, I don’t have Manny’s number. I don’t think anybody has Manny’s number. He’s constantly changing it.”
-Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon
MAYBE HE CAN PEN A TEARFUL CHAPTER ABOUT IT IN THE PAPERBACK EDITION OF HIS BRILLIANT BOOK
“Having been in this business for 40-some years, I’ve never seen anybody treated like that. The Atlanta Braves will no longer do business with that company-ever. I told Arn Tellem that we can’t trust them to be honest and forthright. I told him that in all my years, I’ve never seen any [agency] act in such a despicable manner.”
-Braves president John Schuerholz
“It was disgusting and unprofessional. We’re a proud organization, and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated that way. I advised Arn Tellem that whatever players he represents, just scratch us off the list. Take the name of the Atlanta Braves off their speed dial. They can deal with the other 29 clubs, and we’ll deal with the other hundred agents.”
“I’m so happy to be a Dodger again. I know the Braves are a great organization, but I’m so happy to come back to the Dodgers and be a Dodger again, and that’s what I can say. I’ll let my agent talk to you guys about [the Atlanta situation]. … I wanted to come back here because with the team we have, we can make it this year.”
-Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, on his multi-year deal with the Dodgers.
“As far as I know, it was above board. I don’t have any idea what transpired with any other club.”
-Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti
“I expressed my great disappointment to him. I watched as Frank shared with me the circumstances of his negotiations with Furcal-negotiations to the point where we increased our offer, and he [Kinzer] then asked for a signed term sheet to be sent over. We never got that signed term sheet faxed back to us, and we later found out why-because they took that offer and shopped it.”
–Schuerholz (David O’Brien, Atlanta-Journal Constitution)
NEVER TRUST A MAN WITH A BAD UZR
“Number one, with sabermetrics in general, it’s a statistical probability thing. And the way they come up with the defensive measurements, or ratings, is flawed. It’s as flawed as the Gold Gloves. One of the reasons is, they don’t consider things like ballpark factors, defensive positioning, or alignment for certain hitters.”
-New Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez, on his inability to play a corner outfield position adequately.
“None of these guys has had a baseball background per se.”
“Trying to judge accuracy on a camera view is not the same.”
“Some of those biases that are pre-determined biases come into that mind-set. Those are things that I’m going to have to continue to battle throughout my career. But if you go around the game, and you ask the players, you ask quality major league scouts, you ask managers, they’ll tell you I’m the type of player they want on their team.”
“And if you look at the list of teams bidding for me, the ones that were the most serious tended to be in the National League. They didn’t seem to have a problem with me playing the field.”
–Ibanez (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
BRANDON MCCARTHY LIED TO ME, AND IT HURT SO BAD
“Pitchers are just trying to get through five innings. These young guys have been on pitch counts all their lives. And I see a lot of teenage pitchers who have already had Tommy John surgeries. The good ones go on select teams, and they throw so much, they get abused. On the other hand, pitchers feel pain sometimes and think they’re hurt. A lot of times they’re not.”
–Rangers president Nolan Ryan
“I’d like to have the set-up guy at least be able to get through the lineup once. If he pitched three innings and handed it off to the closer, then he could have two days off. But you’d have two other guys who could handle it the next two days. What we’re doing may come under criticism, but there’s no fool-proof way to initiate this. It’s unknown how they are going to respond.”
“We have to have a different mind-set that the ballpark isn’t an excuse, and the heat isn’t an excuse. We have to get it done.”
“There is going to be a certain percentage of pitchers who take to it wholeheartedly. Some are going to give it lip service, and some … are probably going to resist it. They’re probably going to some other organization and miss the opportunity of pitching for the best offensive club in baseball.”
–Ryan (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)
“Everyone’s going to have a chance to win a job, per se. We still believe that Brett Gardner is going to be a productive player for us one day. Would it slow his timetable down a little bit? It’s possible. But you never know what’s going to happen.”
-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on the Yankees possibly acquiring a veteran center fielder.
“I don’t think ‘pitching to contact’ is a good term. I don’t think you let a guy hit a ball. You want him to hit the pitch you want to throw, but it’s not ‘OLK, here you go, let’s hit it, let’s not strike this guy out.’ I don’t think that’s the mind-set anyone wants you to have. At the same time, making contact means making a good pitch that he’ll swing at, but not worrying about making the perfect pitch where he’ll swing and miss at. Just make a good, quality pitch, pitch and get him out, whether it be a strikeout, a ground ball, or whatever it is.”
-Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (Brian Kamenetzky, Los Angeles Times)
“We eventually had to eliminate two of his pitches because of the differences in the balls. Of course, what compounds the problem is that every major league team in Japan manufactures their own baseballs.”
-Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, on new acquisition Junichi Tazawa. (Peter Gammons, ESPN.com)
“Mark was in the office the other day, and the excitement in his voice over his arm angle was pretty touching. The arm angle isn’t quite as high as it was in his prime, but in his mind it is, and the fact he’s come so far from where he started is so encouraging to him. He has the confidence now that he’s going to pitch at a high level again.”
–Mark Mulder‘s agent Gregg Clifton
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.