Almost immediately after the completion of the last What they said, what they meant, there was a lot more to talk and write about. So, with thanks to chron.com (spit!!!) for the quotes, here is part two of WTSWTM: Winter Meeting Edition.
Astros’ owner Jim Crane commenting on Jeff Luhnow and the secret extension he gave him…
- What he said. “I’ve managed a lot of people, not necessarily in baseball. I think we’ve all made some rookie mistakes, and we can all improve, and I think he would be one. I’d be one. We’re kind of three years into it, we should be getting pretty good at it by now. Yeah, I think he does a nice job. He’s good with the people and I like the things he does. His job is to keep the chemistry with his guys. And I think he’ll have some very good chemistry with A.J. (manager A.J. Hinch), you can already see that. A.J.’s been up in the room all day. We have very good input and very good feel for each other, so I like what I’m seeing now.”
- What he meant. “OK – maybe Bo Porter does not think he is “good with the people”, but then again with my track record, why would you listen to my evaluation of Jeff Luhnow as a human being. Sure, AJ is up there in the room all day – I think it is the huge iced down vat of peel and eat ‘em shrimp keeping him there. Man that guy can chow down.”
Crane on the potential / additional $20 million in the budget…
- What he said. “We’re not going to spend it just to spend it, I think definitely the money’s available if they need it, and we’re looking to fill some voids and improve the team. That could include spending the money and making some trades. They’re looking at all the options. Definitely that money’s available if they need it, and we could stretch a little if we need to and if something came in our direction we felt was the right piece that improved the team.”
- What he meant. “You know how the big increase in gas prices from a few years ago makes us “happy” to pay $2.40 / gallon at the pump today? Well I have been doing the reverse with the Astros payroll. I slashed the payroll so much when I took over that everyone thinks my additional $20 million is the most wonderful thing in the world. Well maybe not the guys over at chipalatta – but most of the other fans….”
- What he said. “You know, when you come here (to winter meetings), there’s no fire sales going on. It’s pretty much retail and retail plus. You’ve got to pay retail if you want to sign these guys or maybe a little more. We understand that, and I think we’re working on it.”
- What he meant. “You know I got in this screaming match with JL (OK maybe he was not that good with people at that point) when I was balking at some of these salary offers he wanted to toss out there. Then he showed me some of the stats for the few fire sale guys out there and they made Lucas Harrell look good. So I acquiesced and we got a couple live ones.”
Chad Qualls recalling a very successful threesome of relievers that Qualls, Neshek and Gregerson remind him of….
- What he said. “I just think a lot of it is you just get to know one another and everybody roots for everybody, There’s no negativity down there — everyone’s kind of happy with their role, whether someone’s throwing the ninth or someone’s throwing the seventh, they’re happy that they’re in that role. That was kind of how it was in ’04, ’05 and ’06 when it was me, Wheeler and Lidge. I didn’t want Lidge to falter. I was happy throwing the seventh, I was happy Wheeler had the eighth, I just wanted to win the game. And that’s kind of how we were at the end of the year, and with all of us being friends. And then having Gregerson, Neshek, who I know — great guys as well — obviously, there’s going to be competition for roles. But once we get into those roles, I’m sure everyone’s going to want the same bottom line, and that’s just come out of the game with a ‘W.’”
- What he meant. “Folks, I was with the Astros last season when they lost 92, I was with the D’Backs for part of 2010 when they ended up with 97 losses. I also was with the Astros when they went to the NLCS in 2004 and the WS in 2005. I know what felt better and I know that if we win more games with me pitching the 7th than the 9th – fine – let me pitch the 7th. I want that feeling of being on top of the world in this town again.”
Luhnow on the two signings at the winter meetings….
- What he said. “Last year, we had a lot done coming into these meetings. This year, we had one trade and that was it. So we knew that here was a chance we’d do more this week, and we feel pretty good about the progress that we’ve made, and there’s still a long way to go in this offseason. We’re unlikely to take too many hours off.”
- What he meant. “The fans and even the media are hilarious – you miss out on a couple guys like Robertson and Miller and it is Armageddon. With 30 teams looking for help you are not likely to get your first couple choices, but the good news is that there were a lot of good relievers looking for a good situation and bucks and we think we offered Gregerson and Neshek a good opportunity and good contracts, Take that Evan Drellich….”
Luhnow on pursuing more pitching…
- What he said. “We’re exploring starting pitching. The past couple days we decided to look at the market a little more closely. We’ve made contact with a couple of players of interest and also looked at a few opportunities potentially through the trade market. We like our rotation but feel like there is a room for one proven major league starter to write in there somewhere in the middle of the rotation. Something we’re going to explore. The reliever market, we feel we’re making significant progress. But it takes a lot of relievers to make it through a major league season. So we’ll continue to look there as well.”
- What he meant. “I did not tell you much there except where I said ‘middle of the rotation’. So we are not chasing Max Scherzer. I think you knew that. But hey just like with Neshek and Gregerson there are some guys out there who could help us without making them part owners of the franchise….”
David Stearns assistant GM (who is neither David Stern former NBA commissioner nor actor Daniel Stern of Home Alone fame) on losing 3 prospects in the Rule 5 draft – Delino Deshields Jr, Jandel Gustave and David Rollins……
- What he said. “We’re at the stage in our organizational development where we’ve got a lot of players that other teams want. You can’t protect them all. This is a natural part of the process, and so we’ll move on from here. I think that we knew that there were probably a number of players we couldn’t protect of selection risk. So no, we’re not all that surprised.”
- What he meant. “To everything (Turn, turn, turn) there is a season (Turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to be protected and a time to move on…..”
Bonus question – Neshek on the process of the Astros signing him….
- What he said. “I actually told my agent, ‘Hey, let’s do Pittsburgh. He said, ‘Hold on, I’m getting a call from the Astros,’ and he said, ‘Let’s see if they can do anything better,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, it’d change my mind a lot.’ And they upped it a little bit. And then they also said that they were going to sign Gregerson. Because I heard there were discussions that they might not get him, they might get him — and they said they were going to get him at that time.”
- What you think he meant…..