If you thought you were gonna make it through the day without just one Steve Phillips mention, think again.  Writing for ESPN.com, the former Mets GM criticizes Cincinnati’s selection of the troubled Josh Hamilton in last winter’s Rule 5 draft, explaining, “he must stay in the major leagues for the Reds to keep him. Otherwise, he will have to go through waivers and ultimately be offered back to the Devil Rays, his original team.”

Every decision made by an organization impacts every other decision. Every decision makes a statement about that organization and what it believes in. Every decision sets a precedent for the next decision. On a daily basis, minor league players are instructed, developed, cultivated and directed on how to become major league players. They are told to work hard, stay committed to their careers, make good decisions, be professional, be a good teammate, etc.

The decision to acquire Hamilton and give him a chance to be a major league player without doing anything to earn it over the past four seasons makes a statement to current Reds major leaguers and especially to the organization’s minor league players. This one decision contradicts everything the organization claims is important.

Phillips insists “I’m not trying to be insensitive,” and even better, “people deserve second chances. Heaven knows I have had my share,” but the man who accused A-Rod of trying to foster a “24 and 1” climate at Shea really misses the point here.  Does Swinging Steve really believe the threat of losing Hamilton (one for two today in Cincy’s 7-3 loss to Cleveland, raising his average for the spring to .478)— whom the Reds paid peanuts to acquire — is enough to win the cocaine enthusiast a major league roster spot for the entire season if he can’t help the team? This was a low risk gambit for Wayne Krivsky — Hamilton’s job security is entirely down to his performance and whether or not he stays clean.  If he’s got a job on Opening Day, it won’t be because the Reds were afraid to send him back to Tampa.

There’s good news and bad news for the Atlanta Braves this evening, folks. On the happy side, Chuck James tossed 3 scoreless innings while Kelly Johnson, Ryan Langerhans and Willy Aybar all homered in Friday’s 8-5 defeat of Pittsburgh.  On the suicide (with apologies to David Allan Coe), Atlanta signed a recent AL All-Star starting pitcher….named Mark Redman.