Now that he is officially the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ben Cherington’s first job will be to find the team a new manager
Last Friday, news leaked that the Pittsburgh Pirates planned to hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager. On Monday, that move become official as Cherington was named the 13th GM in franchise history.
With the hire of Cherington the Pirates have now replaced for GM Neal Huntington, as well as former team president Frank Coonelly who was replaced with Travis Williams earlier in the offseason. While the two key pieces of the front office are now in place, Cherington still needs to finish putting his staff around him. This includes what will be one of his most important hires – the team’s new manager.
Not only is hiring a new manager to replace Clint Hurdle one of Cherington’s most important jobs this offseason, it should be the first thing he looks to does as the Pirates GM. Right now the Pirates are the only team in baseball without a manager. This is understandable as hiring a new manager was always going to be the GM’s job and the Pirates did not have a new GM until Monday. Well, Cherington is now on the job and it’s time to find a new manager.
At his introductory press conference on Monday, Cherington told the media he plans to have a manager hired within a week. So, odds are, he already has a short list of candidates that he is high on. He has also said that he is happy with the work the Pirates front office did in search of a new manager before Cherington was hired. This should also help cut down on the time it takes Cherington to find the Pirates’ new clubhouse leader.
Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton should still be a viewed as a front runner for the job. He is widely respected in baseball circles, was a candidate for other managerial jobs this offseason and he worked with Cherington in Toronto. Gun to my head, Shelton would still be my prediction as next manager of the Pirates.
Another name worth watching is John Farrell. When Cherington was GM of the Red Sox, Farrell was the team’s manager. Farrell also spent two seasons as manager of the Blue Jays before going to Boston. In seven seasons as a MLB manager Farrell owns a 586-548 regular season record, a 12-11 postseason record and he won the World Series in 2013. Even if Farrell does not end up as a manager, it would not be a surprise to see him offered a job on the Pirate coaching staff.