Chicago Cubs: This would be a common sight with Gore as pinch runner
By committing to Gore in any close game where you lead off the inning with a hit or walk, the Cubs would give themselves a runner on second somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the time. Depending on the pitching and catching combination, that number could increase as well and might even create the right conditions to send him to third as well, where he could score in even more ways with nobody out.
One factor to consider as well is that next year’s rule with relievers having to face three hitters could play into Gore and the Cubs hands as well. If a reliever comes in who is especially terrible at holding on runners/taking a huge leg kick, the decision to insert and then release Gore with reckless abandon becomes all the easier, as any walk or base hit becomes an automatic triple.
A runner on third with no outs (1.43 runs per inning) creates almost twice as much run expectancy as a runner on first (.83 runs per inning), meaning that it would be a no-brainer to send Gore on down to second and then to third.
If you could get Gore to appear in half the games over the course of a season in this role and he scores 50-60 runs, wouldn’t that be worth the roster spot?
The other piece to consider is how nervous and uneasy Gore’s presence makes the other team. Whether it’s the manager in the dugout, the catcher, the pitcher, or the defense behind said pitcher, Gore creates a maelstrom of opportunity for the Cubs and a sinking vortex of feeling for their opponent. With so much focus sure to be on the guy who is definitely going to run at some point, the pitcher focuses less on the hitter and the defense knows they have to rush everything.