With the MLB Playoffs beginning today, baseball fans everywhere are finishing their work early so they can be ready to watch the wild card games. Well, in Philadelphia, baseball fans are ignoring the playoffs because their hometown Philadelphia Phillies are not there for the first time since 2006.
When GM Ruben Amaro announced that coaches Sam Perlozzo, Pete Mackanin, and Greg Gross would not have their contracts renewed this offseason, he decided to add Ryne Sandberg, Scott Henderson, and Rod Nichols to the major league coaching staff for 2013-2014.
Amaro turned a couple of heads, especially mine, with this decision. He also noted that he and the Phillies would be looking to hire an assistant hitting coach. Two of the possible candidates: former Phillies Matt Stairs and Mike Sweeney. So who deserves the chance to coach in the major league’s? Let’s look at what each player did in their career so we could make an educated decision and maybe help Amaro out with his search.
Stairs played 19 years in the big leagues. In his lengthy career, Stairs hit .262 with 265 HR, 899 RBI, and had a career OPS of .832 in 6024 plate appearances. Stairs primarily played first base and a little bit of the outfield as well as being a DH for a couple of years.
Sweeney played 15 years of professional baseball. He is a career .297 hitter who had 209 HR, 909 RBI, and a career OPS of .851 in 5848 plate appearances. Sweeney was originally drafted as a catcher. He later went on to play 1B as well as DH for the latter part of his career.
Both players are without a doubt great clubhouse guys. Both players are professional hitters. But Sweeney is a bit different than Stairs. Personally I think that Sweeney needs to be chosen by Amaro. Sweeney not only brings veteran leadership to a veteran ball club, but he also can really help out the young players coming up from the minors such as Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown, and maybe Freddy Galvis.
Sweeney seems like the best choice as an assistant hitting coach. Having a former player who started almost every single year of his career is a key to young players who are still developing their game. Look for Amaro to make a very important decision. Though it may not seem big to sign an assistant hitting coach, either one of these players could have a huge impact on the young players in Philadelphia.
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