(Globe Photo Archive)
Theo on WEEI with Dennis & Callahan. Listen here.
On Schilling: "I wouldn't count him out guys (to face Randy Johnson on Opening Day in New York). The main reason that Schill said he won't be ready for Opening Day is not because his ankle won't be healthy enough to pitch, it's because the process of being in the cast and doing the rehab pushed his preparation schedule back, he has one of the longest off-season programs of any starting pitcher...I still think there's a pretty decent chance he's ready on Opening Day... it's not as big a deal as people are making it out to be, anything can happen -- we're dealing with ankle surgery -- but if the rehab continues to go well, he'll be fine."
On the Idiots: "The reason it worked last year 98% of the time is that they respected each other, they respected the game, they still behaved in a professional manner, again, for the most part. We just want to make sure we don't go too far over the line, and lose professionalism, we don't want to lose respect for the game. We do want to maintain the relaxed, fun elements of our clubhouse. We just want to make sure we have the Jason Variteks of the world, the Edgar Renterias of the world, Trot Nixons, Tim Wakefields, I could go on and on and on and on but the guys who really do things the right way. And I think we do, I think we have a good combination of personalities in the clubhouse now. Yeah (the line was probably crossed a few times), just like you probably crossed the sometimes, and I do too, sometimes when you're having fun, and good things are happening, you get too much of a good thing, and you probably do things that you look back on and wish you hadn't done or said, but that's just life. That's the way it happens, and it was nothing we couldn't overcome and it will probably happen again next year."
On Beltran: “I hope it’s one of those two (Mets or Astros) and not the Yankees. I think it’s probably best for baseball if he goes back to the Astros, we were trying to trade for him, a lot of teams were, they (Houston last year) I guess made the best offer, they made a great trade, he helped turn their season around, they did really great things in the second half, he was unbelievable in the post season for them, it probably be best for baseball if they’re rewarded and he gets to stay there and maybe not even at top dollar, but what makes sense for him, so I hope that’s what happens. Early in the off season (we considered Beltran some) you kind of look at what money is available to you, what money maybe you can free up, what are your needs, what’s it going to cost to acquire him, but in the end it wasn’t worth it for us, not only because of the price tag, but because of the process. In other words, we couldn’t put so many of our eggs in that basket, when by definition because of the salary involved that’s a lot of eggs, and then wait and on January 8th be finding out whether you’re going to have a successful off-season or an unsuccessful one because that’s the way this process was going to work with this player and this agent. In this particular case, we couldn’t put that many eggs in that basket.”
On Johnson and the Yankees: "It's a good acquisition for them... our approach to the Yankees, especially during the off-season, is we assume they are going to win 100-105 games every year, they have basically limitless resources and they're extremely smart, and they usually spend their money the right way, they have a great gameplan, and their track record. They're going to win 100-105 games, why worry about it? Nothing we can do to prevent that, just sets the standard for us. If we want to compete in the division we've got to try to win about 100 games and that's our long-term baseball plan, and our business plan, win 95 to 100 games every year, get in the post-season hopefully every year, and that gives us a chance to 'one of these days we're going to do something special in the post-season and win the World Series in the post-season and it happened. It doesn't change our long-term plan. You don't have to try and build an uber team. You don't have to try to react the Yankees and build the perfect team. You can't do it and stick to your baseball plan. I'd love to get in there 9 out of 10 years if we can and try to win more than one World Series."
On Hanley Ramirez: "Hanley's probably going to Double A to start the year, he only played several weeks there at the end of last year, he's just 21 years old, he's got a lot of development left to do, his ceiling is really limitless, so he's going to stay at shortstop for now but sure, down the road, if we're put in a position where we have to consider a position change for him, he's got tremendous athletic ability, tremendous instincts, size, speed, power, range, and arm, so he could play center field, he could play third base, he could play second base, but we're going to keep him at shortstop."
On Wade Miller: Cautiously optimistic, this is a guy who’s not available at all if he’s completely healthy, but we had a leg up on the competition, in acquiring him because we were trying to trade for him. We had gotten all the medical from Houston, we did a physical with our doctor and we knew the state of his shoulder when I think a lot of other teams didn’t. So when he was non-tendered, and we got an idea towards the end that he might be, other teams probably had to go out and do due diligence on his shoulder, and we already knew, so we were able to sign him right away. Last exam he had he had full range of motion in his shoulder, excellent rotator cuff strength, excellent strength throughout the shoulder. And he’s going to start throwing this week. So he could start 30 games for us, he might not start one game for us, but at $1.5 million, and then controllable for next year, makes all the sense in the world to us, and we think he could be a big addition.”
On Matt Clement: “Kind of overlooked here has been Clement, we’re bullish on him, he’s awfully talented, but it hasn’t come together for him in the course of one season yet, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t pitched well, what really hasn’t happened is he hasn’t had run support, he hasn’t had certain circumstances to boost up his win total, but you stack up his performance, let alone his stuff and his potential, up against other pitchers, he’s on the cusp of being a 15-18 game winner, getting 6 runs of support a game as we hope to provide for him should really help as well.”
On the starting pitching market and managing risk: “Something unanticipated I think, throughout baseball, happened to the starting pitching market, every team had to adjust, I’ll be the first to admit, we had to adjust, you can’t always script things out perfectly, but you have to be able to call audibles and adjust. What happened was a couple of signings occurred with other teams and next thing you know there’s a long list of pitchers who are in line to get $8 million a year over three or four years, that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten that. To be completely honest with you, in my mind, were not worth that. Clement was, but there were a long list of pitchers who got that who in my mind probably weren’t worth it, so we considered that an unmanageable risk, and unnecessary risk, just going out and signing three guys to those contracts because that was the going rate was not wise, it was unmanageable risk, so what we did is… we knew we had to take a risk of some sort in the starting pitching market, so instead of taking an unmanageable risk, we decided to take a manageable risk, one that we could deal with and by that I mean in most years we probably don’t go get a 41 year old David Wells, but getting a quality guy like that, on a heavily incentive-laden deal, makes sense given the alternative of unmanageable risk. Signing Wade Miller coming off a frayed rotator cuff, in most years I hope we have the luxury to do that, but most years we don’t especially if we dive headlong into the starting pitching market and spend big bucks there. So now we risks that we can manage, we have six starting pitchers, now we can manage risk a little bit, come out with five healthy guys who have to pitch to earn their money and we’re really happy with the way it turned out even though it wasn’t anticipated.”
Millar and Doug the Ball Stealer: “Both guys deserve to be every day first baseman, both guys help teams win and bring a lot to the table. Obviously they have different skill sets. It’s a shame we can’t keep both of them but they’re both at points in their career that they want to play every day and it makes sense for our budget to make a trade. Go get a prospect and continue to build our farm system, and let both guys play every day. I wish we could make a trade now so I could let both guys know, but I think with Delgado out there, a lot of teams are waiting for him to sign before they go ahead and address first base... we have trades we could make right now, but I think once Delgado goes off the market we'll have more engagement and make something happen.”
On Delgado: “That’s (the LA radio report of Delgado signing), you know, people get creative this time of year but we’re not on Delgado, we’re going to do exactly as we said, trade one of the first basemen, hopefully get a good prospect, and that’s our team.”
On the fear of having Tony "The Phoney" Clark beat you: "The one at bat that I think about, that I get cold sweats about, and this has gone on under the radar screen is, remember that at bat at the end of Game 6 in New York, we kind of had that game in control, the A-Rod play happened and all that, then all of a sudden Foulke’s getting squeezed by the home plate umpire, he doesn’t have a good change-up that day, he’s thrown about 1,000 pitches in the last 72 hours then all of a sudden Tony Clark comes up, as the winning run, with two outs, yeah he punched him out, but not after a tough at bat and I'm thinking 'the guy basically ruined our 2002 season' (editor's note: THANK YOU THEO), now he's going to ruin our 2004 season. After Aaron Boone the year before, I think that would have made me jump. But yeah you figure you gotta throw him a fastball, he doesn't have a good change-up, the strike zone's really small, Clark, if he runs into one, is going to hit one out to end the season, and that would have been the worst possible way, and he struck him out, but that was probably the at-bat that I was the most nervous for during the year, and I still kinda cringe when I think about it because I could just see him running into one and ending our season."