Phillies’ right field job is “a three-man race” that Domonic Brown should win

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Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the Phillies’ right field job is “a three-man race” and “open competition” among Domonic Brown, Ben Francisco, and John Mayberry Jr., but adds that “many suspect Francisco and Brown will platoon to start the season.”

Before he can claim the bulk of the starts Brown has to first win a spot on the Opening Day roster, which is no sure thing for the 23-year-old top prospect. Brown was called up in late July and remained with the Phillies for the final two-plus months of last season, but started just 13 times in 61 games while getting a grand total of 70 plate appearances.

If the Phillies give him a spot on the Opening Day roster he needs to actually play this time around, and with Jayson Werth gone and Francisco representing the only significant veteran competition for starts that should be an easy call for manager Charlie Manuel. Brown didn’t look very good in his first taste of the majors, but that tends to happen when a 22-year-old is getting one start per week and he’s without question one of the elite prospects in all of baseball after hitting .312 with 23 homers, 62 total extra-base hits, and 25 steals in 130 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?