The Phillies have told teams they’d trade Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels

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If someone — anyone — has a clue what the Phillies’ grand plan is, I’d love to hear it. I’m sure anyone would:

I suppose that you could get a lot of building blocks for those guys. But if you’re building, why did you sign Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd and make those other short-term, win-now moves they’ve made so far this offseason?

Seriously: what the heck is Ruben Amaro doing?

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.