Most assume the Diamondbacks and shortstop Stephen Drew are breaking up, if not now then in a few months, but GM Kevin Towers said he’s yet to be offered a deal that makes sense for the team, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal stated last week that the Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers were interested in Drew, though Buster Olney later tried to debunk the Pirates and Red Sox rumors. Also, the Tigers have since acquired Omar Infante, making the acquisition of another infielder less likely. Oakland would be one obvious destination for Drew, though the A’s may be focusing more on Hanley Ramirez at the moment. The Rays could use some shortstop help, but they’re believed to be aiming lower than Drew and may actually end up acquiring another Diamondbacks infielder, Ryan Roberts.
Another possible fit would be the Nationals. They could use Drew at shortstop until Ian Desmond returns from his oblique injury and then possibly stick him in a utility role afterwards. They’d probably only go for such a deal if the price tag was modest.
Since Drew is still working his way back from last year’s ankle injury and has hit .217 in 17 games since returning to Arizona’s lineup, he’s someone who might clear waivers and get traded next month. In fact, the Diamondbacks might get a better return for him then than they would now, assuming that he starts hitting better with time.
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