Sunday Links and Coffee

Here we go with another edition of Sunday Links and Coffee, some links from around the baseball world that you can enjoy with your Sunday morning java. Enjoy. First from a Phillies perspective…

  • Phil Sheridan in the Inquirer says that Clearwater is still Clearwater. Florida is still Florida. But the Phillies aren’t exactly the Phillies anymore. That is certainly a good thing, but it is still sort of jarring.
  • Bob Brookover in the Inquirer notes that: If you drew a line from Ryan Howard’s corner locker on the left side of the spacious room to Brad Lidge’s locker in the middle of the rectangular clubhouse, you’d find 33 guys who have played in a combined 15,104 games and collected 10,527 hits, 1,223 home runs, 5,177 RBIs, 814 victories, 367 saves, two MVP awards, one World Series MVP, and three Cy Young Awards. The 27 players to the right of Lidge have combined for 1,436 games, 621 hits, 42 home runs, 483 RBIs, 27 wins, and 10 saves. Fourteen have never played in a big-league game. He answers the question of why?
  • Dave Murphy on prospect Tyson Gillies rebounding from a difficult (on and off the field) 2010. I didn’t know he (Gillies) served as an extra in Coke commercials.
  • Matt Gelb in the Inquirer on Cole Hamels’ spring debut. The Phillies handed Hamels the ball for starters. Pitching coach Rich Dubee deemed Hamels capable of throwing in a game after simply watching his initial bullpen session of the spring, so the lanky lefthander was the choice.

And a few from outside Philadelphia…

  • Bill Madden the Daily News on…realignment. Four divisions of seven teams. Interesting. Using a consensus of the half-dozen managers and executives surveyed for this exercise, here’s how baseball could evolve over the next 10 years: Geographically realigned divisions: Seven teams, four divisions Designated hitter: Grandfathered for three years under the new four-division format, then goes away. Rosters: Expanded to 27 with a limit to three September call-ups and the stipulation that only 27 players, to be designated by the manager before each game, can be active. For the now, however, look for the biggest changes coming out of the next collective bargaining agreement to be a bonus slotting system in the draft and the ability of clubs to trade draft picks.
  • In the Daily News…the Players Association isn’t concerned about the Mets ability to pay players after theri $25 million loan from MLB.
  • Jon Heyman of on Bryce Harper, who could open with Hagerstown and play at FirstEnergy Park May 13th.
  • Kirk Gibson, new D’Backs manager, is changing the culture, says Tom Verducci of Gibson is pushing his players to hit the weight room more. He has instructed his pitchers to work more on their hitting and bunting. He has brought in Navy SEALS to talk about commitment and teamwork. He has banned all cell phone conversations from the clubhouse — and no texting, iPads and computer usage 30 minutes before the first pitch of games. That’s a radical departure for a clubhouse that had been chock full of remote control vehicles, air soft guns and assorted other toys — all gone now.
  • Jayson Stark on on the Rays: On the day he assembled a whole new generation of Tampa Bay Rays for the first time this spring, Joe Maddon repeated one of those fabled Maddon-isms that form the essence of what makes the Rays’ manager/philosopher-king a one-of-a-kind leader. “You’ve gotta believe it,” Maddon told these men, “before you see it.”

There you go. Enjoy. Five weeks until the real games.

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