IF HE JUST GOT OUT OF JAIL, SHOULDN’T HE BE ON PROBATION?
“I don’t think I really know the AL as well as I know the NL, and I think it would be more educational. Preferably, more of a big-market club. I’d like to see how they do business, how you put an American League team together.”
-Former Padres general manager Kevin Towers, on looking for his next job in baseball.
“I’ve always been used to a small pool of free agents. And even in trades, you can usually eliminate about 50 percent of the players on a lot of clubs’ rosters who wouldn’t fit in the budget. My focus has always been on a small group. I want to learn what is the process a GM has with a large group of players-internationally and domestically. How does that work?”
-Towers, on the difficulties of working for a low-budget franchise.
“If (Paul DePodesta) were me, I would have said, ‘Sandy, can we go have lunch, you and I and KT? I want to make sure he’s comfortable.’ You know how far that would have gone?”
-Towers, on the front office conflict in San Diego.
“When I got let go, Moorad said he wanted a department head. They hired Jed, and he had never run a department. He’s been in Theo’s shadow for about five years. Wherever Theo went, he went. He wasn’t managing people or overseeing the draft. I don’t think he has a very extensive network.”
-Towers, dissing the guy who got his job, former Red Sox executive Jed Hoyer.
“Because of the quality of life and where I lived, I never worried that much about payroll or what our budget was. I just grew to learn that’s the way it was going to be. This city got me. It almost came to the point where I loved San Diego so much, loved living here, that you do the best that you can and take your lumps because this was home. To me, there’s nothing that even comes close to San Diego. I think players recognize that. If you were to talk to Maddux or Piazza, they loved it here. Even though it was a small-market club, we got players to come here without a lot of selling. San Diego sold itself. I always used to wonder what it was like for Dave Dombrowski or Cam Bonifay. How did they get people to come to Detroit or Pittsburgh?”
-Towers on the appeal of the San Diego area. (Tim Sullivan, San Diego Union-Tribune)
LET THE GLORIOUS POSTURING BEGIN
“I’m concerned a little bit. It’s been a little bit slow. I think it’s too early to draw any conclusions, though, with respect to how this market will play out.”
-New head of the MLBPA Michael Weiner on this year’s free-agent market
“There was plenty of sentiment for saying that players from Texas should be subject to the same rules as players from the Dominican Republic. This union has always stood for the proposition that, you know, players should have the right to bargain individually for their compensation.”
-Weiner, on changing the process for foreign amateurs to join MLB clubs.
“If a club legitimately trying to compete has a plan that calls for them to be at a particularly low payroll for a given year as part of a longer-range plan to compete the following year or years after that, management should have that flexibility.”
“Players historically have suspected that the request for a salary floor is a precursor to a request for a salary cap, and you know what the position of this union has been on salary caps.”
-Weiner (Ronald Blum, Yahoo! Sports)
WE GAVE ALL THE EXTRA MONEY TO OUR HMO
“The millions of dollars that a club spends in the draft and in free agents and international signings, the millions that a club spends to support its entire minor-league system, the millions a club spends on its major-league team operations such as travel, medical expenses, are all over and above what is spent on a major-league payroll. A club like ours pays considerably more in player-related expenses than even the inflated numbers that several have speculated we receive in revenue sharing and from the central fund.”
–Pirates president Frank Coonelly
“Change is needed, and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars have been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom had baseball’s highest operating profits. Who, except these teams, can think this is a good idea?”
-Red Sox owner John Henry
“And, of course, all of this is before considering all of a club’s other expenses, such as stadium operations, front office, marketing, community, and other expenses. In short, the effort by some to shift the debate from the real competitive balance issues in the game to assertions that low-revenue clubs are not properly utilizing revenue sharing receipts is a canard.”
“I can only speak for the Pirates, but we utilize all of our revenues in an effort to build a winning baseball club by investing in all aspects of the acquisition and development of players.”
THE BATTLE OVER THE MAN WITH A SUB-.400 SLG
“They told me they’re very close to making a decision, one way or the other. We’ve made an offer. They’ve had a chance to evaluate it. … I think we have a good group of players that can play third base and left field. We have depth there. I think we’re covered.”
–Angels general manager Tony Reagins on free-agent third baseman Chone Figgins, who reportedly reached an agreement with the Mariners.
“We’ve been gathering information and making a lot of contacts. I think we’ve done our work, and now we’ll see what happens. We’re juggling a lot of balls.”
-Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, on his approach this winter.
“He’s been up and down so many times, he’s probably [ticked] off. It makes you want to prove to people you can play. If he’s our third baseman, we’ve got to be patient with him. He’s got that power threat. He’s got a sure glove and a nice arm. Defensively, he’s good. Offense is where the question mark is.”
-Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, on Brandon Wood, the potential new third baseman for his team.
“Left field is a little up in the air, and we’d like to add a right-handed bat. That could be at first base or DH, depending upon what happens. Everyone wants to upgrade their pitching. We like ours, but you always look to shore up and upgrade.”
“We’d like our minor league system to be a feeder system for the ballclub. We’re not there yet.”
-Zduriencik (Larry Larue, The News Tribune)
“For some guys it’s a gift. And for some guys it’s a curse. I’ve seen both sides of the fence. For me, it was a blessing. It made me the player I am today. He taught me a lot about the game, and he’s one of the ultimate field generals, probably the best manager I’ve ever had.”
-Free-agent center fielder Mike Cameron on former manager Lou Piniella. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
“I met [Ricketts] in Phoenix [at the Cubs‘ organization meetings] about a month ago, and I came away very impressed. This is what the Cubs needed, a guy who’s been a Cub fan his whole life and who is competitive and has built a successful business, and now he wants to win with the Cubs. I’m looking forward to that transition.”
-Cubs manager Lou Piniella, on the new owner of his team. (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)
“Hardly. Unless something comes across that’s really big, I don’t pay a lot of attention. We’ll be sitting in the dugout in spring training in Fort Myers and I’ll look across and be, ‘How the hell did he get over there?'”
-Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, on free agency. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
“He showed me how to protect the ball while I’m sliding and try not to fall on one side or the other on my shoulder, just absorb the blow with my butt and my legs. It was important for me to learn that and I really appreciated it.”
-New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, describing the sliding instruction he received from Yankees manager Joe Girardi. (New York Post)
“I know there are guys who can’t play in New York, but this guy is not one of them. If the Mets have a chance to get him, they better grab him. If the Yankees have the chance, they’d better do it.”
-Anonymous scout, on free-agent right-hander John Lackey (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
“Everyone is going to play. Right now, we don’t have a true DH, so I have a chance to move people. I can put Vizquel at DH and as leadoff hitter if we don’t have one. There’s Kotsay, Konerko, Andruw, Vizquel, even Teahen. You have that spot open. We can do a lot of things with it, and that makes life a lot easier.”
–White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on his options at the designated hitter spot. (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“There was a team that was making a real good offer, but I can say this, I took a little less money just to come here, to have a chance to win a ring.”
-New Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)
“I think the closer you get to certain situations, the more often you fail. I firmly believe that had I not gone on the road trip with the team and been exposed to that panic or been sucked into it, we wouldn’t have made the trade. I got too close to it, so we over-prioritized the rest of the season, we over-prioritized the next start [by Tim Wakefield], and made a bad trade.”
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein on the trade that sent Cla Meredith and Josh Bard to San Diego for Doug Mirabelli. (Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.