Link-O-Rama: Sheffield wants to play in 2010

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* Gary Sheffield wants to play next season and has shown that he’s still a productive hitter, but the market for a 41-year-old, oft-injured, should-be platoon designated hitter doesn’t figure to be especially strong.
* Cecil Cooper took the fall for the Astros’ disappointing season, but as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle points out the general manager who built a 70-80 team with a $107 million payroll also deserves plenty of blame.
* Edwin Jackson’s recent struggles have some people suggesting that he’s been tipping pitches, but a career-high workload for a pitcher who came into this season with a 5.15 lifetime ERA is probably an overlooked theory.
* Adam LaRoche has hit .350 with 12 homers in 45 games since returning to Atlanta and Chipper Jones wants the Braves to re-sign the impending free agent. LaRoche has played for three teams this season, so naturally he’s looking for a multi-year deal.
* The man who once traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields writes about the mistake that Billy Beane made trading Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley.
* Yovani Gallardo is now officially the Brewers’ ace.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”