Pirates hire Ben Cherington
There is an argument to be made, and I certainly think I would make it, that the Pirates are the worst-run team in all of baseball. From the ownership all the way down, they have been a total mess for years and have just a couple of successful seasons since Barry Bonds left way back in 1992. That is a sad state of affairs for any team, never mind one of the oldest in the league. They scrapped their front office and coaching staff over the winter, and while their same ownership stays in place this is at least a start to get things back on track for the first time in over two decades. They have found a new GM, and it is a familiar face. Ben Cherington was hired by the Pirates over the weekend to run the front office. There is a whole lot of work to be done for a team that has a lack of talent in the majors, a poor culture throughout the organization and a decent farm system. Red Sox fans, of course, know Cherington, and while he is far from perfect he’s the type of guy that you can succeed with at the helm to build up a roster from something close to scratch.
Sox Spin: Obviously, the big connection here is that Cherington was Boston’s GM for the first half of this past decade. He was with the organization for a while before that, too, playing a big role in acquiring and developing a lot of the current team’s core when they were amateurs. He also failed to pull the trigger on big moves for the roster to take the next step, though he did make a ton of savvy free agent signings prior to 2013 that led to a World Series championship. As for this year’s Red Sox team, there’s not a lot of potential trade chips on the Pirates roster that could interest Boston, but there are a few. Starling Marte could be a replacement if one of the outfielders is traded, but they’ll likely look for someone cheaper. They could also look to Pittsburgh for help behind the plate or in the bullpen.
More details come about potential minor-league slashing
We heard a few weeks ago that the league was considering a plan that would essentially rid minor-league ball of non-complex short-season leagues under the guise of improving conditions for players. It wouldn’t be as simple as just eliminating all short-season teams, though, as the plan also comes with significant shuffling of teams, leagues and affiliations to make everything work. Well, now the New York Times has the list of teams that are on the chopping block if this plan truly goes into effect. I have a lot of thoughts on this that will probably go into a longer, stand alone post later in the week, but this all stinks. Minor-league baseball is hugely important to growing the game nationally and in communities without easy access or strong ties to major cities across the country. Taking affiliated baseball away from over 40 of those communities is a dumb, dumb long-term move.
Sox Spin: There is one Red Sox affiliate on the list linked above in the Lowell Spinners. That is a major bummer to me personally as I went to many Spinners games growing up and seeing the region I grew up in potentially lose its minor-league team just sucks a whole lot.