Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears that the Red Sox hope to have Bobby Valentine’s coaching staff in place by Christmas.
As of now, bullpen coach Gary Tuck, third base coach Tim Bogar and hitting coach Dave Magadan are returning, which leaves the Red Sox looking for a new pitching coach, bench coach and first base coach. According to Bradford, Bogar could potentially move to one of the vacant positions. We assume that doesn’t include pitching coach, because that would just be weird.
During an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM earlier today, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that Brad Arnsberg and Neil Allen have interviewed for the pitching coach vacancy. Arnsberg has previously served as pitching coach with the Expos, Marlins, Blue Jays and Astros. Allen is currently the pitching coach for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, but has never coached in the majors.
Cherington also acknowledged today that he has interviewed candidates beyond those which have been made public, though reports have suggested that former Athletics, Mets and Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson is not a candidate to join Bobby V’s staff.
If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.
While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.
The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.
A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.
A great read and a great history lesson.