SOME PLAYERS TELL US THEY WANT TO LOSE AND MAKE A FORTUNE – THAT’S NOT ALBERT
“He has always made it clear that his drive is to win. That’s why he’s the great player he is. But you can’t do it alone. He knows that. We know that. He wants to be sure that we’re going to have a competitive team, and that is our objective every year. We do have an excellent core of players in place. But we need to add to it. And not only this year, but down the road, too. It’s a matter of demonstrating to Albert that we are going to do that on an ongoing basis.”
–Cardinals president Bill DeWitt, on his team’s MVP first baseman, Albert Pujols.
“There’s so many great players out there, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Chase Utley. When I get to spring training, I don’t think about the MVP. I just pray to God and try to stay healthy. I’m sure that every year there’s going to be great competition and it’s going to be a great race.”
-Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, on winning the Most Valuable Player Award for the National League.
“His focus is on winning. He knows some team somewhere is going to be there with the money. That’s not a concern. He tells me, ‘I want to win.’ That’s what he has the luxury of doing. He’s worked hard to be in a position where all he has to worry about is playing and, because the money is going to be there, he wants to be sure he’s playing somewhere that’s competitive.”
–Dan Lozano, Pujols’ agent
“I had a talk with Matt during the season. He was asking me for advice. I said, ‘Listen, you need to worry about you and your family, what’s best for you and your family.’ The whole city of St. Louis wants Matt back, and myself [as well]. He was a key part of our success, a great player. He came in right when we needed it and helped us make the playoffs. At the same time, I don’t like to get involved in players’ contracts. I wish him the best, if he decides to go somewhere else.”
-Pujols, on his chats with free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
NEAL’S KIDS ARE GETTING AKINORI IWAMURA UNIS AND NOTHING ELSE THIS CHRISTMAS
“We’re not going to spend money just to say we did it. Sure, we could do that. But we’re trying to make decisions that make the most sense for us, now and in the future.”
–Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on his approach to spending this offseason.
“We’ll be looking for value, but we definitely don’t feel like we’re desperate to fill any hole. We made the trade for Akinori Iwamura because second base was the position we identified as the one we most wanted to improve, but we feel good about the options that we have, now and for the future, and we’re not going to abandon our plan. We absolutely will not do that.”
NO ONE’S RUSHING OUT TO SIGN THE GUY WITH THE .188 EqA?!?
“I don’t think this trend just started last year. I think this has been coming on much more subtly than what we saw last year, maybe for five years in small increments, baby steps. In my case, for a guy with as many years as Richie has in baseball and the accomplishments he has in baseball, it’s almost like it used to be-that guys of that caliber and quality pretty much played as long as they wanted to.”
–Barry Axelrod, agent of Rich Aurilia, on the difficulty older players are having finding jobs in this free agent market.
“Now, it’s not the case. Certainly economics have played a part in it. I think baseball teams are more budget-conscious and more structured in their budgets than they used to be. I think they would sometimes be impulsive in the past. Now, they stick to the plan more.”
“The sense I’m getting this year is that it’s similar to last year in general. But personally, I feel really different this year than last year, because last year I was coming off an injury. I feel like last year, when I finally got the chance, I showed people I’m back. In that way, I can’t imagine having to take a minor-league deal this year. I think I’ve answered the questions that need to b answered on the field. If I had half a season in the NL with a 3.50-4.00 ERA, if the numbers weren’t there-especially the strikeout numbers-then I might be singing a different tune.”
-Veteran free-agent reliever Brendan Donnelly (Doug Miller, MLB.com)
WOULD DEREK LOWE PLEASE PICK UP THE RED AND WHITE COURTESY PHONE?
“I know they have holes they want to fill, and I know, from my perspective, when you pitch as poorly as I pitched, and given the caliber of the starting pitchers we have, I wouldn’t be surprised by something like that. But in terms of whether someone called me to tell me, ‘Would you be interested in being traded somewhere?’ No, I haven’t received that call.”
-Braves starter Derek Lowe, on trade rumors.
“It’s a first-class organization from top to bottom. If it’s reached this point, it’s no one’s fault but my own. To Roger McDowell‘s credit, he watched all sorts of video with me, and we finally pinpointed some of the things I was doing wrong, but I was never able to go out there and correct it. I can’t explain it over the phone, but it was one of the worst mechanical funks I’ve ever been in in my career. And the frustration was, I knew what I was doing but couldn’t do anything to change it.”
-Lowe, on his time with the Braves.
“I know that everyone looks at how you finish a season and not your whole body of work. When I was in LA the last year, I finished strong and it enabled me to go out in free agency and sign this type of deal. And it’s only fair that people judge what I did the last two months and, like I said, I was horrible. I was doing things out there that were mind-boggling to me.”
-Lowe, on his season. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I thought once I got to the big leagues and made my first million dollars, that’s where true happiness was. It’s not the case. You’re going to have the same emotions whether you have a million dollars or five dollars in the bank. Sure, it makes it easier to pay your rent. But when you’re divorced and separated from your son, having money doesn’t make it feel any better.”
-Free-agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)
“If you know Ross, everything about his life is always about making himself better and making himself more educated. He’s not someone who wants to sit and not do anything. This is a perfect fit for him.”
-Princeton University baseball coach Scott Bradley, on Pirates starter and Princetonian Ross Ohlendorf‘s internship with the USDA. (Boston Herald)
“In my opinion, Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan are two of the best second basemen I’ve ever seen. I hope the voters and the public support his upcoming Hall of Fame election. One unfortunate incident doesn’t change the fact that Robbie is a class act and a good person. I was friends with him before the incident and remain friends with him to this day.”
-Former umpire John Hirschbeck, in a letter supporting the Hall of Fame candidacy of Roberto Alomar. (The New York Times)
“I haven’t at all conceded 2010. I expect to be competitive in 2010. I’ve already been with a franchise that went from worst to first, so I know it’s doable.”
–Nationals president Stan Kasten, referencing the 1991 Atlanta Braves. (Seth Livingstone, USA Today)
“We have a few different scenarios we’re working with. There are ways to get to where we want to be, and we’re going to go through all of them. It’s a challenge, but this is a fun time of year. It’s exciting.”
–Angels general manager Tony Reagins (Mike DiGiovanna and Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.