NOT THE FIRST OR THE LAST TIME JOSH BYRNES WILL MAKE THEO EPSTEIN CRY
“In general, the immediate reaction of the trade is not often a predictor of the outcome.”
-D’backs general manager Josh Byrnes, on the deal that sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers for a return of Edwin Jackson and former Yankee Ian Kennedy.
“I think New York’s fan base is one of the most knowledgeable about tradition and the team. When I was walking around with Marcus Thames one time, a police officer pointed him out. ‘Hey, there’s Marcus Thames. First home run against Randy Johnson.’ It just amazed me that we were walking down the streets of Manhattan, out of uniform, and this guy picked him out and knew that about him.”
–Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who ended up in New York as part of the three-team trade that also sent former Yankees Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to Detroit.
“I think, in my opinion, Curtis Granderson is one of the things that’s all good about baseball in today’s baseball world. He is one heck of a player. He has a great face. He’s very bright. He’s very articulate. He’s everything that’s good about baseball. He’s the total package.”
-Tigers manager Jim Leyland
“We researched it, but we certainly didn’t uncover anything that was alarming. The two basic questions: Is he healthy? Yes. Are there any character issues? Quite the opposite, rave reviews all along the way.”
-D’backs general manager Josh Byrnes, on the character of newly acquired starter Edwin Jackson.
“It was a business decision.”
-Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski on the trade. (Ben Walker, Google News)
NOLAN INSISTED ON A CONTRACTUAL STIPULATION THAT HE ‘PITCH UNTIL HIS ARM FELL OFF’
“It has been frustrating not to be able to do some things. In the past, it’s bothered me. But I’ve learned to put it behind me, and I feel I have a good conditioning program to help me. There will always be questions, but I’ve used it to motivate me to work harder to have a bunch of healthy seasons.”
-New Rangers starter Rich Harden, after signing a one-year deal with a mutual option for a second year.
“I made 30 starts last year and didn’t have to go to the DL. Every pitcher has risk going forward; I’m one of them. So the violent delivery, whatever knock you want to come up with me, that’s fine. I’ll go out there and pitch, and I’ll have success.”
“I know I’ve had some injuries earlier in my career, but I just want to work harder and harder to put that behind me and make 30 starts a season. I really feel like this is a good fit for me here. Everybody I’ve heard from has said this is a good organization. I feel like it’s a good spot for me to go out there and make all my starts and pitch 200 innings.”
“It really was more about payroll and what we wanted to accomplish with the club under those parameters, regardless of the status of ownership. It was more about, we could creatively figure out how to improve the club. We felt from this regard we had to move some pieces around to acquire somebody like Rich, and we’re happy we did.”
-Rangers general manager Jon Daniels on the trade of Kevin Millwood and his salary to the Orioles that set up the Harden acquisition.
“I think if you look at his last two years, they’ve been his most productive. The years of experience he’s gained, I think those experiences are great teachers. He’s probably at point in his career that he can focus on what’s important to him, and what he needs to do to stay healthy and be consistent. We truly believe that the best of his career is ahead of him. We feel fortunate that we’ve been able to sign him.”
-Rangers president Nolan Ryan
“You don’t have to follow him closely to know he has a chance to be a dominating upper-end-of-the-rotation pitcher. We know what he is capable of. He is the kind of pitcher that can flat-out shut down an opposing lineup.”
-Daniels (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
TAKE AWAY THE GOATEE, AND HE’S BASICALLY ENTERING HIS PRIME
“Overpaid? I don’t think we overpaid him. What we did is we got one of the top offensive catalysts in the game. When you looked at Chone Figgins, he’s 32 years of age, but he’s got a body of a 26-year-old kid. We think it’s a durable, hold-up kind of body, and we think that about what kind of kid, what kind of person we got.”
–Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik on his team’s signing of infielder Chone Figgins.
“No one in baseball says, ‘I don’t love the three-run homer.’ I fall in that category, too.”
-Zduriencik, on his club’s need for power.
“It’s what is available and how you put your club together, and how you can fit to your park. Those are factors that tie into every decision you make.”
-Zduriencik (Sweeney Murti, WFAN.com)
THIS IS ALL VERY TENDER
“If Matt is what he was in ’07 and in the first half in ’08, it’s a no-brainer to tender him. While we believe Matt can be a bounce-back candidate for next season, we just weren’t willing to go through the arbitration process and risk losing. We got to a number that was our final offer, and when they rejected it, we felt like this was our only option.”
–Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on non-tendering reliever Matt Capps.
“There are a lot of circumstances that surround all of it. It just depends on the team, what the situation is like and what my opportunities would be. I’m not closing myself to anything by saying that I have to be a closer to sign. When I was drafted by the Pirates and made it to the big leagues, I wasn’t a closer. If that’s something I have to earn back and fight for, I’ll do that. There’s a greater plan for all of us. This is just the card that I’ve been dealt.”
-Free-agent reliever Matt Capps
“That [report] destroyed all trade possibilities at the Winter Meetings. We felt like we had a good chance [to trade him]. It wasn’t our intention to non-tender Matt Capps, until we realized that no deal could be put in place.”
-Huntington, on the rumor that the Pirates were going to non-tender Capps.
“The door is still open for Matt to still negotiate if he doesn’t find what he’s looking for and we don’t commit to anyone else. He and his agent felt like he could get more money elsewhere. They could be right on that. They could be wrong on that. We felt like we could bring back some pitchers that could match the performance that we expected to get from Matt. We could be right, we could be wrong.”
-Huntington (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)
“We don’t agree with their evaluation of the player. Frankly, we have other offers on the table that are of greater interest to Jason.”
–Joe Urbon, Jason Bay‘s agent, on his client parting ways with the Red Sox organization. (FoxSports.com)
“Two years, four years, all that happens when Scott talks to the Yankees. That comes later but we haven’t had any talks at all. I don’t know where all this stuff came from.”
-Free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, on the idea he’s already declined an offer from the Yankees. (George A. King III, New York Post)
“He’s a true right fielder that can hit. He turned 20 this past August. We’re going to give him a chance to compete, and why not win the job?”
–Braves manager Bobby Cox. on outfielder Jason Heyward. (ESPN Baseball Today)
“I just think, as the home runs decrease a little bit, I think you’re going to see the re-emphasis on pitching and defense. For me, defense is probably the most accurately predictable part of a player’s performance. … I think what teams are finding out is, obviously, if you want to make your pitchers better, play better defense. It’s a more controllable element.”
–Rays manager Joe Maddon (Alex Speier, WEEI.com)
“Just look at our track record, don’t listen to what we say. We’re a competitive bunch.”
-Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, contradicting reports that this would be a rebuilding year for his franchise. (Dennis & Callahan, WEEI.com)
“Frankly, the importance of the winter meetings was to get a better understanding of what other players are looking for. To present an offer to Matt is also important. Now we need to hear back from them on where this may go. We hope there is some dialogue and we can hopefully use this weekend to better learn where we stand.”
–Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on where he and free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday stand. (Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.