TEXAS SHORTSHOPS ARE BORN SELFISH
“After some careful consideration over the last month or so, and in an effort to not let this thing drag out and move forward at the task at hand-which is winning baseball-I’ve decided to put an end to this and start bearing down and playing third base.”
–Rangers third baseman Michael Young
“To the man, and I mean some of the biggest names in the game, there wasn’t one player who didn’t tell me, ‘Don’t do it.’ Every one of them said stay at shortstop. But on the other hand, I kept reading all these quotes from other baseball management people that I had to do it, and I was being selfish for not doing it. I don’t know what it says, but I did get a laugh out of players and management lining up exactly on different sides.”
“I don’t believe the team was really pursuing a trade. They wanted me to play third base. My focus is on playing the best third base I can. I don’t think this is the time for me to switch positions. I think I’m playing well. But it’s not my call. My responsibility is to 24 other guys. I’ve talked to many of them over the past few days, and they support me. But I have to be fair. In my heart, I’m a middle infielder. My responsibility now is to move on and do what I have to do, which is play third.”
–Young (Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
IT’S ALMOST LIKE HE WAS CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO DO WHAT THEY SAY
“What does it say about the organization when you get to a point that no matter what you do, we’ll snatch your job away no matter what happens. That’s what happened. I was flat-out told. I was told I was playing third base. I felt that I had absolutely no say. I don’t feel like there was any discussion or dialogue about the matter.”
“I completely understand his sentiments, but I don’t agree with the term that we’re tearing his job away from him. If anything, we’re asking him to take on a more prominent role.”
-Rangers general manager Jon Daniels
“Put it this way. If the Rangers offered up Michael Young for free-with that contract, I don’t think there would be any takers.”
–Anonymous MLB general manager
“We took a beating from the media for not moving Soriano to left field before we traded him, and you guys were dead right. Instead, we sold Soriano for 60 cents on the dollar, if that. But if we’d moved Soriano to the outfield, it would have been so Ian Kinsler could play second. Who knew what he could do then?”
HE’D MAKE A GREAT STEINBRENNER
“He makes a living grandstanding on the Yankees‘ name. Everything he says, he says just for the point of attention.”
-Yankees president Randy Levine, on Richard Brodsky, the committee chair reviewing the Yankee Stadium deal. Brodsky has argued that the city is getting a bad deal and sought to deny additional funding for overruns.
“If you can find me another employer who’s putting this kind of money into the city of New York, employing this many people in the city of New York, I’d like to know.”
“Mr. Brodsky, as I said in my testimony before Congress a few months ago, your behavior in this entire matter is worthy of the Grandstanding Hall of Fame.”
“The tone of hostility is not appropriate, or the accusations.”
-Democratic assemblyman Richard Brodsky
WE HAVE JUST CLOSED THE DOOR SLIGHTLY ON THE AGENT’S FACE
“There’s still some unfinished business. Jason’s still out there. As I said at the beginning of the offseason, he has been a really important guy here, to this organization. By no means have we shut the door on him. There’s still unfinished business there, and also in the pursuit of a younger catcher.”
–Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein
“That’s always the player’s decision. The player and agent get together and decide what’s in their best interest. But certainly it was something we were hoping he would have accepted and get him back under those terms. But that’s behind us now and we’ll see what happens next.”
–Epstein, on Varitek not accepting arbitration with the team.
“We haven’t ruled anything in or anything out at this point.”
–Epstein (Tony Massorati, Boston Globe)
WE CALL RONALD MCDONALD AS A WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION
“The number we put in has to be defendable in the event it goes to a hearing. We’ve been able to settle these situations in the past, and that’s our preference, but we’ll go to a hearing if we have to.”
–Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, on going through the arbitration process with first baseman Prince Fielder.
“The CC thing hurt us. I don’t want to give up a first-rounder now. We have to continue to build from within.”
-Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, on getting only a second-rounder after CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees.
“We’re not on the same page with regard to his value. And that goes back to last year.”
–Ash, on Fielder’s high filing. (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
ALSO, THREATEN A JOURNALIST WITH DEATH UNLESS HE TELLS EVERYONE HOW FEARED YOU ARE
“Be patient and wait to the last out. I guess everything was just timing because my numbers have not changed over the last 14 years.”
-Member of the Hall of Fame class of 2009 Jim Rice, on his advice to other would-be Hall of Famers.
“A lot of the writers when I was playing are probably dead. A lot of the votes came from the younger guys, I guess.”
“I probably could have been more a of home-run hitter, but I chose to do the opposite. I chose to hit the ball on a line, hit it gap-to-gap, and help the team win.”
–Rice (The Midday Show with Joe And Evan, WFAN.com)
MY NUMBERS DWARF BILL MAZEROSKI’S, FOR EXAMPLE
“I’m so happy Jimmy went in. He’s a great guy and he had a good career. But there it is, our numbers are almost identical.”
-Former slugger Dave Parker, on not getting much in the way of consideration for the Hall of Fame.
“I’ve tried to put it out of my mind. Over the last 10 years, guys went in and my numbers were either better or close to theirs. I felt I should have been close or in by now.”
“What I represented to my teams also should be considered. I was always the guy or one of the guys. It seems like none of that is taken into consideration. I think it’s gonna take a campaign to really bring to the light that this guy was a heck of a player.”
–Parker (Rich Scarcella, Reading Eagle)
“Once I got there and saw how they operated compared to the Braves, I knew I made a mistake the first week of spring training. I said to myself, ‘You know what? I done messed up.’ The lack of organization. The lack of discipline. The lack of overall professionalism. I was shocked, and I couldn’t believe it.”
-Former Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone (Terrence Moore, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“We’re not inconsistent with the world. I used to console myself that baseball was really essentially recession-proof, but you can see that this is something different from what we’ve ever gone through. We’re living in unprecedented times. Many of us are just trying to understand it.”
-MLB commissioner Bud Selig, on baseball’s place in the new economy.
“John called me around 9 o’clock the night before to tell me the news. He told me what was going on. I was very surprised and sad about the situation, and so was he. He didn’t want to leave, but when it came down to it, the opportunity to play in the postseason and possibly win a World Series again was a big part. And I’ll definitely miss him on the golf course.”
-Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur, on John Smoltz leaving the Braves. (Stephanie Pederson, The Ledger-Enquirer)
“In any negotiation, there’s going to be periods when there’s progress, and periods when there seems to be more of an impasse. We moved the ball along pretty well for a while, then it stalled, but then both sides moved again in the end. It got done in a range that both sides probably could have anticipated at the beginning of the process. It seemed to be the sweet spot for a deal that made sense for both sides.”
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on signing infielder Kevin Youkilis to a long-term deal. (Chad Finn, Boston Globe)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.