Chinese officials asked for help with their baseball team five years ago, and
since then, Major League Baseball has paid the salaries of Lefebvre and the
other American coaches who round out his staff. The league has also subsidized
the team’s training trips to the United States since 2003, when Lefebvre became
manager of this group.
Tom Lawless, one of China’s coaches, said his team had only six players who
could play in the minor leagues. Major league scouts rated the players mostly
2’s on a scale of 1-8. The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, another coach, said the players’ talent rated at about a high school or a college level. “They are knowledgeable about the game, but have no attention to detail,” he said.
And of course, there are problems with the Chinese officials also:
He and Shen, a serious woman who often wears mirrored sunglasses and a black
sweat suit, butted heads. Shen, a former military officer, preferred long practices. Lefebvre wanted more efficient ones.
They disagreed over lineups. Shen once chose seven relievers and only one starting pitcher for the roster, Lefebvre said.