The Pittsburgh Pirates have found their new general manager in Ben Cherington according to a report from Jason Mackey at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Just a couple weeks removed from firing former Pirates' GM, Neal Huntington, new team President Travis Williams has hired a new one. Ben Cherington's most notable experience was as the GM of the Boston Red Sox, where he masterfully constructed a team to win a World Series in 2013.
Cherington faces a new challenge with the Pirates. He was given a significantly higher payroll with the Red Sox than he will in Pittsburgh, but he has the smarts to adjust to the small-market mindset.
Cherington has spent the last three years as the VP of baseball ops for the Toronto Blue Jays.
An interesting fact about this hiring is that Cherington has turned down other, seemingly better opportunities in the past. He declined to be considered for both the Mets and Giants positions in favor of taking a role that would allow him to rebuild a team from the ground up. Apparently he feels like the Pirates GM job will scratch that itch.
Cherington's best work was his first full off-season as Red Sox GM when he signed David Ross, Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, and Koji Uehara before the season started. That group helped propel Boston to the championship. I mentioned last week that $60 million price tag that those seven free agents came diminishes my hopes that Cherington can replicate that success with the Pirates.
Cherington's first order of business is going to be to finish the manager search that his predecessor started at the beginning of the off-season. I've felt that the list of candidates that Huntington compiled was pretty strong, and Cherington would do well to start there, but I wouldn't be surprised if he adds a couple names to it.
If you've been following along with us, you'd know that Matt Arnold was my number one choice, but that doesn't mean that I'm disappointed today. Cherington is a candidate I would not have thought the Pirates would have had access to at the start of this process. So, the fact that he, after turning down other high-profile jobs, accepted a role as general manager of the Pirates, is pretty exciting.
Next up is the managerial search. We will give you updates as we know them.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife