Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More on Decker

New Defenders manager Steve Decker and I had a good chat tonight. I came away with an overwhelmingly positive reaction to what he had to say. Some, Defenders fans, may not sit well. Some of it will excite you.

The highlights:

*Decker said his main priority is player development. If the team happens to win, that's even better.

*He said all of his teams have played the game the right way. They play hard and with respect.

*He's tired of the excuses. He said whether it was from instructional league or elsewhere, all he heard from players was how they couldn't hit at Dodd Stadium. Not so, the new manager said. Decker wants the players to use Dodd as a weapon, and not a liability.

*Don't expect big power numbers out of the lineup, but do expect -- if he can get the guys he wants to do this -- a very fast, very aggressive team on the bases.

*This is a very confident man with a track record of winning in the minors. He knows this will be tough, but he thinks that most of the players he gets will have played for him in either Salem-Keizer or San Jose, so they already know what he expects. If they can make the adjustment to Double-A, which he considered the proving ground, then there might be winning baseball in Norwich.

New staff

In what I consider as big of a statement on how valuable player development is with the Defenders, the San Francisco Giants named their up-and-coming Single-A manager Steve Decker the team's new skipper.

The Giants cleaned house -- everyone is gone, including Steamer, Bob Stanley.

I've been trying to talk with Decker and should have something later today.

The new staff:
Pitching coach Ross Grimsley
Hitting coach Garey Ingram
Trainer Eric OPrtega.

Grimsley comes from the Giants' low-A team in Augusta, Ingram from the Midwest League's Great Lakes squad, and Ortega from Augusta.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two Defenders taken in Rule 5 draft

The Oakland A's selected Ben Copeland in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. What that means is Copeland must spend all of next season on the A's major league roster or he will be sent back to the Giants organization.

Kyle Haines was taken by the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, Lehigh Valley. He must spend all of next season in Triple-A or his rights revert back to the Giants.

Haines will have no worries staying in Triple-A. Copeland is going to be a fourth or fifth outfielder with Oakland. His speed is why he will likely stick. This is bad news for East Lyme's Todd Donovan, who is on the A;s Double-A team. It's just another OF to climb over.