Ben Cherington to be the next Pittsburgh Pirates GM
The Pittsburgh Pirates have finally filled one of their most important positions. Noted by Jason Mackey, the thought that Ben Cherington might be the next GM of the Pirates officially became true. The former Boston Red Sox GM and current Toronto Blue Jays baseball operations rep will now reside in Pittsburgh as their next general manager.
The 45-year old had an up and down tenure with the Red Sox from 2011-2015. He followed in the footsteps of now Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein in 2011. Cherington does have one World Series title which occurred in 2013. The other three seasons saw the Red Sox finish under .500.
Cherington is well-respected within the executive ranks. Respect does not win you games. For Cherington, the win-loss record with the Red Sox ultimately did him in. Cherington’s track record with free agents was hit or miss. Cherington was credited with bringing in the likes of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. He did bring in young talented players that make up the core of the Red Sox today. Talents like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers have all been home runs for Cherington.
Cherington did find himself ousted from the Red Sox in 2015 for Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski’s theatrics left him with the same fate this season. The big difference between the two former Red Sox GM’s was Cherington’s focus on building up the farm system.
Cherington has slight ties already in place with the Pirates. The newly minted Bucs GM attended Amherst College, the archrival to Williams College which owner Bob Nutting attended.
Scaling down the spending
Cherington did receive offers to interview for other GM positions and turned multiple offers down. His decision to come to Pittsburgh brings some questions along with it. While with the Red Sox Cherington basically had free-spending capabilities. Now he enters a low-budget Pirates organization that opened up 2019 with a payroll below $75 million.
Right now the Pirates are looking at just three contracts which equal a hit of $8 million or more towards the 2020 payroll. The Pirates have just over $62 million committed for the upcoming 2020 campaign. Odds are that Cherington might focus his spending on catching and starting pitching which currently sits at just over $10 million across the next four years.
One of the biggest challenges in Pittsburgh will be the budget-strapped atmosphere. That was ultimately the downfall of former Bucs GM Neal Huntington. Hopefully, Cherington’s emphasis on rebuilding the organization from the minors up will be the missing piece to the puzzle in the steel city.