The Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington has been leading a rebuild. He’ll look to follow his former boss in Theo Epstein.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates fired General Manager Neal Huntington, it was a clear sign that the Pirates were finally going to rebuild the organization. Despite fans knowing that the club needed to restock their farm system, especially after the Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, the organization looked to compete. That changed, however, when the Pittsburgh Pirates hired Ben Cherington to be their next General Manager.
Cherington, who originally is from Boston and then worked for the Toronto Blue Jays, is known as a team builder. He helped lay the foundation for the 2013 World Series Red Sox, and while not with that team in 2018, he was a big influence on that roster and creating the necessary depth to make trades. With Toronto, Cherington helped rebuild the farm system and that team looks to be on the upswing. His challenge in Pittsburgh will be similar. He must rebuild the farm system and has started by revamping player development. But how will this path follow?
If we look at Cherington’s former boss in Theo Epstein, we can gauge the path the club will take. Theo joined the Cubs following a 2011 season in which they won just 71 games. The club won 200 games in Theo’s first three years but built a strong farm system, with many key contributors in their 97 win 2015 season and 2016 World Series championship season coming from this down period.
The Pirates are in a similar state. The club won just 69 games in Huntington’s final season and in came Cherington. After posting the worst record in baseball a season ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to be able to take the best pitcher in the Draft in Jack Leiter. With the team starting 1-5 and projected to be a bottom team, they could be looking to draft top 2022 prospect Elijah Green.
The point being with the Pirates and Ben Cherington is to not judge the results of the Major League club early on in his tenure. He is rebuilding the farm system and trying to deepen the Pittsburgh Pirates by setting up a competitive window for the team. If we look back at his former boss Theo Epstein’s time with the Cubs to determine the path for Cherington, it appears he is following the same script.