THE FINAL STRAW WAS THE MORROW FAMILY’S VAGUELY INSULTING CHRISTMAS CARD
“From our estimation, it was the fact that we were a little bit uncomfortable with the current status of our bullpen. Last year, that was a big part of our success. We feel we have added an experienced power arm to go along with our current bullpen. He has a swing-and-miss pitch and a high ground-ball rate. He is a good fit for our bullpen and our ballpark.”
–Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, on the deal that sent Brandon Morrow to Toronto for Brandon League and outfielder Yohermyn Chavez.
“I think that was the biggest blow. I come out of Venezuela after pitching well and all ready to come in to start, and they sign Silva, trade for Bedard, and I didn’t have a spot.”
-Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow, on his time with the organization that drafted him.
“He can throw very hard. It’s 98-99, it’s as if he’s playing catch, and it’s a power curve ball in the low 90s, similar to what Burnett did.”
-Anthopoulos on Morrow.
ONCE THEY ACQUIRED MILTON BRADLEY, A PLAYOFF RUN WAS ALL BUT INEVITABLE
“It was not an easy decision. We had debated this thing for over a month.”
–Jack Zduriencik on the decision to deal away Morrow.
“You never see things like this coming, for me, anyway. I’m staying positive. It’s a good organization I’m going to. The only downside is that I’ll be missing the guys I kind of grew up with through the minor leagues.”
-Mariners reliever Brandon League, on getting traded.
“I don’t think you’re ever certain, but we like the player a lot-the fact that he’s 25, he’s a power-arm starter. I know he’s certainly had some concerns with his health and also some concerns with his control. But for the most part a lot of guys with his velocity and his type of stuff, their command and control does come a little bit later in their careers.”
-Anthopoulos, on Morrow’s control problems.
“And at the end of the day, I think that he fit their need real well, and Brandon League, I think at this moment in time, fits our need.”
SHOULDN’T HE BE CALLING OUT ADAM DUNN OR SOMETHING?
“If you’re a 95-win team, you probably have some real exciting players. Right now we have a few exciting players. We added three more. We’re going to keep trying to build on that, continuing to build on that philosophy, to build a core of exciting players in their early 20s.”
–Alex Anthopoulos, on his organizational philosophy.
“We have a development plan in place for all of these guys. Really, that’s the goal with all these young players. It’s easy for us to be shortsighted, just to want to get these guys up here to show the fans how exciting they are, but really, we have a plan in place. When they do get up here, it’s for them to stay. We want to make sure we get the development done. We don’t need to rush. This is all about the long-term plan, building a core and developing these guys the right way.”
“We talked about maybe changing up the philosophy. Really, competing in the AL East, knowing we’re trying to get to that 95-win-and-over mark and knowing that we want to get all-stars all over the place, we were going to have to maybe take a little more risk and go high ceiling.”
-Anthopoulos (Shi Davidi, Toronto Globe & Mail)
THE LIMITATIONS OF STAYING WITHIN YOUR BUDGET
“We’re trying to put the best team on the field based on the parameters we’ve set financially. We’ve been trying to get there for a number of years.”
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman
“It’s clear to dream about what he does and what he can provide if he stays healthy. Certainly at the same time, I recognize and can’t ignore the risk that comes with his trying to stay on the field and stay healthy. This was a decision that I was willing to make, recognizing that there’s risk that comes with it because of his health history.”
-Cashman, on signing Nick Johnson to a one-year deal with a mutual option.
“Is there a risk in signing him? Sure there is.”
-Cashman on Nick Johnson. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)
YOU CAN COUNT THEIR SEASON TICKET RENEWALS ON ONE HAND
“With Escobar, we are looking at him as a reliever.”
-Minaya, on his evaluation of former Angel Kelvim Escobar.
“If he’s right, Escobar could really help the Mets’ bullpen. He’s got the plus fastball and a curve and splitter that really move. It’s a different look than (Rodriguez) and his changeup. Plus he knows the reliever mentality.”
-Anonymous scout, on Escobar (Roger Rubin, New York Daily News)
“I think he’d rather be playing in Beirut than Queens.”
-Peter Gammons, on the Mets’ pursuit of outfielder Jason Bay
WE EAGERLY ANTICIPATE THE 150th TREND STORY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF DEFENSE
“He’s been a player we’ve tried to acquire in the past. We think he’s one of the better center fielders in the game defensively. He’s just a good player, and we need as many good players as we can get.”
–Athletics general manager Billy Beane, on signing Coco Crisp to a one-year contract.
“It’s part of our game to steal bases. The dynamic of the game can change by getting into the pitcher’s and manager’s heads and can change the defensive scheme lightly. With us out there with our legs, we can hopefully put some pressure on opposing teams.”
-New Oakland Athletic Coco Crisp, on pairing with Athletics outfielder Rajaj Davis.
“When I was playing in Cleveland, they looked into acquiring me, and even when I left the Red Sox for Kansas City. But now the opportunity was there for me as a free agent and he told me he really wanted for me to be a part of the ballclub. So it’s exciting to come over.”
“You’d have to have dropped off the planet the last couple seasons not to see that, by May, we’ve had trouble patching a lineup together.”
-Beane, on his team’s injury struggles. (Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com)
“That side of the game, I don’t understand yet and I’m not making those decisions. I try to stay away from it, and I’m usually surprised no matter what happens. Those moves that you think are going to happen never happen, and the ones you never think about are the ones that happen. I try to play and figure it out and I’m usually wrong, so I’ll just wait and see what happens. Usually, my friends are the first to know.”
-Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)
“Javier had a very good year for us in 2009. But all along, as we went into our winter planning, we knew that we would have an extra pitcher that would allow us to improve our club in another area, after signing Tim Hudson back in October. So we have worked hard the last two months to try to figure out the best package that we could acquire that would best improve our club for 2010, as well as improve the depth in our farm system. I feel very happy with the deal we made.”
–Braves general manager Frank Wren on sending starter Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for outfielder Melky Cabrera and prospects Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino. (David O’Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“My son will be three on December 30 and my daughter isn’t quite two yet. … Last year, we got them Florida pre-paid college plans that will go to their tuition at state schools here in Florida. They obviously didn’t know what they were, but they’ll appreciate it when they only have to work half as much at The Gap or wherever to be able to have spending money when they go to school.”
-Braves outfielder Matt Diaz, on his kids’ Christmas gifts last year. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
“It was a challenging year in many ways, but it was also a terrific year. It proves once again that there is something so intrinsically good about this game.”
-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (Mike Bauman, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.