The L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin — who has been doing a whale of a job covering the McCourt divorce, by the way — reports today that the McCourts would like to settle if at all possible. While on one level that’s a no-brainer — no one wants to go through an ugly trial — it is significant in that Shaikin’s story is the first one I’ve seen in which Jamie McCourt’s people have actually said that she’d take something short of team control in order to make the madness stop.
Not that she’s laying down — she still wants 50% ownership or something close to it and an executive position, which both seem like non-starters based on what Frank has been saying for the past several months — but it’s a step down from the “I’ll get my rich friends to buy you out” rhetoric Jamie had launched previously.
In reality I’m guessing that Jamie’s position is a precursor to a demand for a cash settlement that is at least couched in terms of her interest in the Dodgers (whatever it is) being bought out. Such a settlement would allow her to declare some sort of a victory and claim that, yes, she really did own the Dodgers once while allowing everyone to avoid a fight over that property distribution agreement and who slept with who and all of that business.
As Shaikin notes, however, this doesn’t mean that life gets easier. All it really means is that a fight over who gets to control the Dodgers is transformed into a fight over how much the Dodgers are truly worth in order to value Jamie’s buyout. If the example of every single battle over franchise valuation in major sports history is any lesson, you can bet that Frank McCourt will attempt to show that the Dodgers are worthless, while Jamie will attempt to show that they’re worth seventy-gabiliion dollars.
And the sad thing is, given the state of major league baseball franchise accounting and the particular manner in which the McCourts have run the Dodgers, each side will likely have a mountain of paperwork supporting their position.
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