UPDATE: Dave Kaplan of CSNChiago.com is reporting that Dempster has not yet approved the trade, as he must, as a 10-5 guy. Dempster himself tweeted from his own Twitter account that there is no trade, at least not yet. It’d be weird for this many reporters to report this much on such a deal from disparate sources if it wasn’t expected to happen, but stay tuned!
2:25 PM: All indications are that Randall Delgado is, in fact, the player going to Chicago.
2:10 PM: Mark Bowman of MLB.com confirms that Dempster is coming to Atlanta. The player(s) in return are not yet confirmed. Bowman suspects that the deal may involve Randall Delgado. Delgado is 4-9 with a 4.42 ERA on the year, though he is just 22 and is still considered an excellent prospect.
1:57 PM: Jon Heyman reports that the pitcher in question is Ryan Dempster. No word yet on who goes back to Chicago if that is, in fact, the deal.
Dempster gave up four runs over six innings the other night and saw his 33-inning scoreless streak come to an end. But he’s still been crazy-solid on the year. He’s 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 27 walks in 98 innings and a WHIP of 1.051. And he’s been even better on the road than he has been in Wrigley.
1:56 PM: We don’t know who it is yet, but …
Whoever it is, it’s needed. The Braves have one of the worst rotations in the National League. Certainly the worst among contenders, and something needs to give.
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