Ben Cherington is the Pirates' GM - What are the Next Steps?
In case you missed the updates in your Pirates' news feed, Ben Cherington is the next Pittsburgh Pirates' GM. Now that he is, what should we expect this off-season and beyond? There is plenty of unfinished business for Cherington to attend to, such as: what to do with the hold-overs from Neal Huntington's administration, and who do you hire to be the on-field manager. Those are the immediate the questions. There are also longer-term ones.
The first order of business was seemingly to continue the managerial search that was started by Neal Huntington but, as Robert Murray of the Athletic reported, it wasn't. Almost simultaneously with the news breaking that Cherington accepted the Pirates' GM job, Murray reported that a key Huntington holdover, Kyle Stark, was fired.
This was an expected firing and there are more likely to come. The hiring of Cherington should introduce some normalcy to the Pirates organization after a confusing off-season. Most recently, Omar Moreno, Pirates minor-league instructor, was informed he would not return to the team. This caused quite the uproar as Moreno is well-liked and respected in the Pirates organization, and the job statuses of the people responsible for firing him were tenuous at best. However, as Dejan Kovacevic reported, neither Travis Williams nor Bob Nutting were aware of Omar's firing. Williams acted quickly to bring him back into the fold. This is the type of haplessness that the new Pirate leadership of Williams, and now Cherington, should put a halt to.
As of this writing, the man immediately responsible for Omar's firing, Larry Broadway, is still with the team. We will update if that changes.
So, the first step is a continuation of the house-cleaning Bob Nutting started last month. Nutting got rid of the old furniture, Williams pulled up the old, stained carpets, and now Cherington is removing the cob webs.
Then, it's all about remodeling the house, to stick with the illustration. Cherington will continue a managerial search started by his predecessor. A search in which all of the existing candidates remain available and, according to Travis Williams, interested.
One of those candidates, Derek Shelton, has ties to Cherington in Toronto. He also, reportedly, had an excellent interview in Pittsburgh. I like his odds due to that impressive interview, the fact that he was a pretty popular name throughout the league-wide managerial searches, and has connections to the new GM.
His next step, after hiring a manager, will be to address the personnel. We've highlighted pitcher and catcher as great places to start. He will also need to make determinations on players like Starling Marte and Josh Bell. We've suggested that, if signing Bell is not going to be an option, it may be time to trade him. Cherington will have to make that assessment and his resulting determination will be vital to the Pirates' future.
Marte has been a logical trade piece for a while. With the Pirates needing to rebuild with a younger core, it is unlikely that Marte will be a part of another winner in Pittsburgh. His trade value is pretty high right now, and Cherington may want to cash in.
There's also the issue of what to do with the logjam at infield. The Pirates have talent there, and something has to give. Ke'Bryan Hayes, Will Craig, and Cole Tucker have done about all they can do at AAA. How do you make room for them? Do you? Do you move them? Those are questions Cherington will need to answer.
Ben Cherington certainly didn't accept a job that will permit him to sit on his hands and ride the wave of a previous administration. Questions abound in Pittsburgh, and, if his desire to take on the challenge of a complete rebuild is any indication, he can't wait to answer them.
Update: Dejan Kovecevic has reported that Larry Broadway has been fired.
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