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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as their new general manager, according to multiple reports and confirmed by ESPN.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013.

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He stepped down as Red Sox GM during the 2015 season, after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations.

In September 2016, Cherington was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays to be their vice president of baseball operations under general manager Ross Atkins.


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The Pirates announced a noon ET Monday news conference to announce a new general manager but did not identify their hire.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12-year stint.

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Among Cherington’s first tasks will be to hire a manager to replace Clint Hurdle, who was fired on the morning of the final regular-season game in September. Hurdle went 735-720 in Pittsburgh and is the fourth-winningest manager in the club’s 132-year history in the National League, but the Pirates finished 69-93 in 2019, including a 25-48 record after the All-Star break.

Frank Coonelly, the team president who hired Huntington, left on Oct. 23 in what was described by the club as a mutual agreement. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly and fired Huntington on Oct. 28.

Pittsburgh earned an NL wild-card berth in 2013, reaching the postseason for the first time since 1992 and ending a streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-game NL Division Series. The Pirates lost in the wild-card game in both 2014 and 2015, then slipped to consecutive losing records before going 82-79 in 2018.

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“This is not going to be where we flip the switch and the next day, all of a sudden, we’re in the World Series,” Williams said when Huntington was fired. “We’re going to have to get a GM in place, put a plan in place that charts a path forward within the framework that we’re operating that we can get back to being a very successful team.”

A graduate of Amherst College, Cherington started with the Red Sox as an area scout in 1999 and moved up the organization under Theo Epstein.

MINNEAPOLIS — Jake Odorizzi watched Dallas Keuchel remain on the free-agent market until June and didn’t want to take a chance of lingering without a contract. So he accepted the Minnesota Twins’ $17.8 million qualifying offer for a one-year contact and put himself in position to become a free agent again after the 2020 season.

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“When it came down to it, the decision came down to me pretty much betting on myself and returning to a place I know very well and enjoyed and continue to improve on what I did last year and then re-entering the market next offseason with a different class,” Odorizzi said Friday, a day after accepting the offer just before the deadline.

While this year’s free-agent class includes Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner, next year’s is a less accomplished group headed by Trevor Bauer, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Marcus Stroman, Jose Quintana and Jake Arrieta.


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If Odorizzi had turned down the Twins’ offer and signed with another team before next June’s amateur draft, his new team would have lost at least one draft pick as compensation. Atlanta waited until compensation was no longer a factor, finalizing Keuchel’s $13 million, one-year contract on June 8.

“There’s probably a good chance of getting a deal done at some point in this offseason but there’s also a point of not getting a deal done, a one-year deal at some point like people have done in the past or even sat out,” Odorizzi said.

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A free agent can be given a qualifying offer just once, making free agency after the 2020 season more attractive for Odorizzi.

“I think it’s obviously a determining factor and we gathered that from talking to teams,” Odorizzi said. “It’s unfortunate the system is in place how it is. It’s a flawed system. But it’s one that is in place and we have to abide by the rules.”

A right-hander who turns 30 in March, Odorizzi was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA last season for Minnesota, becoming a first-time All-Star. He struck out a career-high 178 batters in 159 innings in his second season with the Twins and the qualifying offer was a near certainty with the AL Central champions having just one other accomplished starter, Jose Berrios, under club control for next season.

“We gauged the market. There was a lot of interest,” Odorizzi said. “It was one of those things that interest is really great, but interest doesn’t have a dollar figure to it.”

Odorizzi’s return gives the Twins two former All-Star right-handers at the top of the rotation. Beyond that, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine say starting pitchers will be a focus in free agency.

Odorizzi and Minnesota could try to negotiate a multiyear contract before he goes on the open market.

“I’m always open to more years,” Odorizzi said. “That’s obviously a thing that I’m interested in. It’s just a matter of if Thad or Derek are interested in it. My interest is there. I enjoy Minnesota. I’ve been very vocal about the culture there, the time I’ve spent there.”

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