Rick Sofield Goes For Second Interview With Padres

According to Rob Biertempfel, the San Diego Padres had Pirates’ third base coach Rick Sofield in for a second interview recently. That’s usually an indication that someone is a finalist for the position.

As mentioned two weeks ago when Peter Gammons first broke the news of Sofield being interviewed by San Diego, he doesn’t have any Major League experience as a manager, but he has a lot of coaching experience. Sofield has managed six seasons in the minors and 15 years in the college ranks. He’s also served as a minor league field coordinator for three different teams, including the Pirates. Sofield was the Pirates’ first base coach for two seasons before moving to third base this year.

  • Can we ship Hurdle to SD? We sent the guy who should be managing this team to Texas

    • Interesting take…and I might not disagree.

    • Im sure you’d never complain about a new manager if you got your wish. No way Hurdle isnt all that different from 90% of big league skippers and fans just love to hate on their guy unless they win it all.

  • as long as we don’t lose Ray Searage-

    • I think that’s coming too…sooner than later.

      • i hope not- I don’t really see how we “let” benedict walk- was he not worth enough to us for us to give him a big raise and a fancy title to keep him here. it would seem like a no-brainer

      • Unless Ray is being looked at for a manager position, we need to do whatever we can to keep him right here. Luckily there aren’t that many promotions from being a pitching coach

      • If he doesnt leave in the next few years i seriously doubt he’s moving. He’s shown very few signs of wanting to leave and he’s at an age where he wont get a ton of offers once he hits 65+.

        Terry Collins is the oldest skipper, and it’d be a bit suprising to see a guy get his first manager job after 60. He’s not young, he’s a pitching coach, and NH seems shockingly content when asked about Searage and leaving. Me thinks Ray has made it clear it’ll take a ton to get him to leave PGH.

  • Bring back Lloyd McClendon. I loved his fire

    • God forbid Lloyd McClendon be anyone’s coach at any level- the moment Seattle hired him I predicted they would be a losing team

  • I wish him the best, and hopefully the team continues to find talent in the coaching and management ranks to replace them and bring new skills and approaches to the organization. Fresh blood can be a good thing.

  • I think MLBTR mentioned him as a dark horse candidate the other day. Shows what high regard the Pirates are in now that their 3B coach is being considered for a manager position.

    • I’m in favor of anything that gets him off third base for the Pirates. He sounds like a good guy and a fine coach otherwise, but I’m tired of watching our base runners gunned out at home by 20 feet.

      • The way I calculated it, the Pirates were actually well above average in their runs created from baserunning around 3rd (i.e. 2nd to home and 1st to home). Maybe my analysis isn’t perfect, but it was done objectively and it’s the only analysis I’ve seen.

      • Third Base Coaching, aka scoring from second on a single

        I did some quick number crunching to try to tease out whether Sofield is any good. Using RE data for base-out situations, and weighting by how often each situation occurs, I calculated the average RE delta when the runner on second scores vs. is out at home.

        I found that on average, the runner scoring is worth +.56 runs vs. holding at 3rd., while an out at home is worth -.78 runs vs. being held at 3rd*.

        [* Out situation is important, but I don’t know how many of these occurrences happened with 0, 1, or 2 outs. So for now I average them all together]

        Feeding in data from bbref for the NL, on average teams gained 49.9 runs from these decisions (number of runners scoring from 2nd *.56 minus number of outs at home * .78).

        Here are the top teams in the NL:
        1. Giants +61.2
        2. Braves +58.8
        3. Pirates +57.7

        If you re-crunch the numbers with different assumptions, that say 70% of these were 2-out situations, and the other 30% were split between 0- and 1- out situations, you get this:

        NL avg +57.4
        1. Giants +69.9
        2. Braves +67.0
        3. Pirates +66.5

        What’s not accounted for here is the real RE change for each team, because I don’t have that data. And this doesn’t say that these results are because of the 3rd base coach (it could be the speed of the team).

        But, if you assume that the actual decision-making in given out situations wasn’t grossly different that the average decision-making for all out situations, it says that the Pirates added about 8-9 runs in value with good decisions at 3rd base.

        • If Polanco leaves 1st base at noon and JHay breaks from home at precisely 2.4 seconds after, does Sofield hold Marte at second who was watching some chick in the left field stands? Algorithm or not you can’t fix stupid. A bit of jest not intended to taint your analysis. I happen to agree with you

          • lol- love it. I would probably change those names around a little though…..

            Cutch would be the most likely to be watching some chick in the left field stands at first base, but that’s okay because he only had a 1 step lead anyways, and gee whiz, his knee isn’t feeling real well today. Polanco for some reason would have tripped over third base as he went back to tag on a ball which is clearly in the right center gap, completely ignoring the fact that there are 2 outs anyways- Sofield looks on confused but doesn’t speak Dominican so he says nothing- and Marte, who was running the whole way, narrowly avoids plastering Polanco before running past him and creating the 3rd out of the inning, costing us 2 runs as Harrison stares off in disbelief having hit the ball in play as he rounds first base for what he thought was a triple

      • As fans we only seem to be able to remember the times it doesn’t work for our team.

        • I don’t remember being angry at any past 3rd base coach, so I think that’s probably false. I loved Gene Lamont

        • And- it’s amazing how fans don’t realize what a truly TERRIBLE player we had for over a decade at shortstop- When Rafeael Belliard takes your starting job, you know you are bad. Gotta love Sammy Khalifa

      • I’m just as tired of players not being waived in situations where they can clearly score…..

        • This seems to be a good thing to point out in this discussion. Sofield had a happy wave arm at times and took a ton of chances, where as the Leyva experience was station to station far more than i could handle. Ideally you get that “just right” middle ground but i think all coaches have their tendencies.

          As much as 3-4 waves from Sofield made me question his sanity, I personally cant stand the way Leyva did it. He was the anti-wave, holding up the stop sign like he just really enjoyed putting his hands in the air.

          • Good point Luke- That is why 3rd base coaches that are “good” at being a 3rd base coach, are hard to come by. If you’ve got a fast runner, I think you send them and put the pressure on the defense, but with a slow runner you really have to watch the player’s break (from 2nd usually) along with the fielder and knowing the fielders arm to make a good decision. It didn’t seem like Sofield “knew his audience” very well a lot of the time

            • Felt like a few times he just didnt care. He’d wave Ishikawa if he thought there was any chance it’d be a close play. He went extreme on the “put pressure on them” idea. Which gets embarrassing a few times.

              For all the discussion about his ability though, seems like losing him would be a loss for the team overall but fans will assume its a positive. He really has given a ton to this organization over the years.

              • I can’t say i’m well versed in what he’s done for us but i assume if he is getting interviews for a head coach position- then it must be sizable

                • I think a lot of his rep around the league will come from his minor league work. A ton of time spent in the minors coaching, and right or wrong he was around when a few big names passed through and went on to be quality.

        • It’s tough to be waved when your looking behind you at the ball, instead of looking at your 3rd base coach. Polanco runs like there are no base coaches out there.

          • Just playing devil’s advocate- If you don’t have any faith in your third base coach, you are more likely to be looking at the ball and making decisions yourself