On Friday, Aaron Gleeman touched on
Tom Glavine’s first public appearance since the 305-game winner was
released by the Braves this week. There was a lot to digest from his
comments, but clearly the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer feels misled
and betrayed by his former club.
“I didn’t realize I was auditioning.
That was it. There was no ‘If you do this, or your velocity is this …
We’ll be evaluating you every step of the way. You’re trying out for
the team.’ None of that. It was ‘If everything goes well and you’re
healthy, you’ll pitch June 7’…. I was taking people at their word, and
at the end of that day that really didn’t seem to mean a whole lot.”
Even though Glavine had thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings over
his last two rehab starts, the team made a “performance-decision” and
released the veteran, opting instead for young phenom Tommy Hanson. The
22-year-old right-hander has dominated the minors this season with a
sick 1.49 ERA along with 90 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings with Triple-A
Gwinnett. He is primed to make his long-awaited major league debut on
Sunday against the Brewers.
I don’t think many people would question the Braves for taking
Hanson — or even Kris Medlen — over Glavine. After all, Hanson was
already on a rapid rise in the organization, coming off a historic
performance in the Arizona Fall League, becoming the first pitcher to
win the league’s MVP award. And through 11 starts this season, he has
shown that he simply has nothing left to prove down there.
However, the way the situation was handled by general manager Frank
Wren is just plain slimy. It reeks of penny-pinching and disrespect for
a pitcher that won the 1995 World Series MVP with the franchise. I
never understood why the Braves brought him back at all, but Wren
deserves all the criticism he’s getting right now.
Vote in our poll and let us know if you think the Braves were unfair to Glavine.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP