I only pose this question because someone will ask it, and I’ll be damned if I don’t have to have all the answers. Short version: this shouldn’t matter a lick.
As we recently discussed when A-Rod hit his 600th home run, there are some Hall of Fame voters who will never, ever vote for a PED-associated player no matter what. For them, Clemens’ name was already mud. They weren’t any more waiting for a court to convict him to make up their minds than they were trying to determine how much of a boost A-Rod got from a couple year’s of PEDs. Brian McNamee could recant tomorrow, and a great number of these voters would still not vote for Clemens based on his infidelities or his association with known PED dealers or what have you. The die has been cast.
Those voters who don’t take such an approach, however, aren’t likely to be deterred by the indictment. They — like Buster Olney — are able to appreciate that (a) lots and lots of players used PEDs in their career; and (b) still only a few, like Clemens, were elite players. It doesn’t take a super genius to appreciate that Clemens (like Bonds and A-Rod) were a different brand of ballplayer than more borderline players like Rafael Palmiero or even Mark McGwire who, quite possibly, might not have gotten into the Hall of Fame conversation without PEDs.
My guess is that even some of the more open minded voters will change their tune if Clemens is ultimately convicted of perjury. Not because of the PEDs, but because of their belief that that the character considerations that are supposed to enter into Hall of Fame voting preclude convicted criminals (even if there are several convicted criminals in the Hall of Fame). I don’t think there are enough of these doubters to ultimately keep Clemens out, however.
My guess: while Clemens won’t be a first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer like he should be based on his baseball accomplishments, he will eventually make the Hall of Fame. As he should.
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