Pittsburgh Pirates’ third base coach Rick Sofield has been the center of plenty of criticism the past two seasons, should he be fired for work he has done?
Rick Sofield, or as some Pirate fans like to call him Rick ‘Gofield,’ has been on Clint Hurdle‘s coaching staff since the 2013 season. Sofield started as the Pirates’ first base coach in the 2013 season. This came after spending the 2012 season as manager of the Pirates’ Low-A affiliate West Virginia Power.
Following the 2013 season, Sofield and then third base coach Nick Leyva switched positions on the diamond. On top of being the Pirates’ third base coach Sofield is also the Pirates’ outfield and base running coach. However, it is possible that Rick Sofield’s time on the Pirate coaching staff has come to an end.
In the Pirates’ loss to the Phillies last night Rick Sofield made an egregious error. In the top of the ninth inning with the Pirates trailing 6-2, two men on base, and just one out Matt Joyce lined a base hit to center field. It appeared the Pirates were on their way to having the bases loaded, with just one out, and the tying run coming to the plate.
However, due to Sofield, the Pirates would not load the bases. Rick Sofield waved Pirate base runner Sean Rodriguez home. This never should have happened with the Pirates trailing by four runs. Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate, and any rally the Pirates were starting was quickly thwarted.
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This was not the first time that Rick Sofield had made such an error. The past two seasons Sofield has made more errors at third base then I can count. In my opinion, it is time the Pirates cut ties with Rick Sofield.
While Sofield has struggled as third base coach, this is not the only reason I believe his tenure with the Pirates should end. As I said above, Rick Sofield is also the Pirates’ base running coach. And the past two seasons the Pirates have been, at best, average on the base paths.
According to FanGraph’s BsR stat, which measures base running efficiency, the Pirates’ team BsR is -4.1. This ranks the Pirates as a poor base running team. Also, their -4.1 BsR ranks them 20th in Major League Baseball.
When you consider the Pirates have players such as Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, and Gregory Polanco on their roster, there is no reason they should not be a poor base running team. This simply is not good enough, and the Pirates’ poor base running has cost the Pirates countless runs in recent seasons. While some of this blame needs to fall on the players running the bases, some needs to fall on Sofield too.
Rick Sofield has been on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ coaching staff since the 2014 season. However, in my opinion, it is time his tenure on the Pirate staff ends. He has been a below average third base coach and the Pirates’ base running has also struggled under Sofield’s guidance. Due to these reasons it is time Clint Hurdle looks for a new third base/base running coach.