Pittsburgh Pirates Hire Sarah Gelles As An Assistant General Manager

The Pittsburgh Pirates have brought in Sarah Gelles as an assistant general manager.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Sarah Gelles as an assistant general manager

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a move, but not one to bolster the Major League roster. Instead, their recent addition has been to the front office, as they recently hired Sarah Gelles as an assistant general manager under Ben Cherington. Gelles is coming from the Houston Astros and brings years of experience to the role. The news of Gelles' recent hiring was broke by Eno Sarris of the Athletic:

Gelles got her start in professional baseball with the Pirates as a baseball operations intern in 2009. She would take two more internships as a labor relations department intern for MLB, and another baseball ops internship with the Baltimore Orioles. Her first major role with any MLB organization was with the Orioles as a coordinator of baseball analytics from 2011 through April 2014.

She was then promoted to the Orioles’ director of analytics going into the ‘14 season, where she would hold that role until the end of 2015. In January 2016, the Orioles promoted Gelles again to director of analytics and major league contracts. This is a role she would serve in until November of 2018.

After spending the last eight years in Baltimore, Gelles would take her skills to the Houston Astros. Her first role with her third MLB franchise would be as a program manager and research and development. This is a role she would serve for about a year until December of 2019. Her most recent job title was director of research and development for the Astros, which she has held since December 2019.

Prior to the Pirates offering her an assistant GM role, Gelles was considered one of the most promising minds in baseball. Sarris, the man who broke the news that the Pirates had hired her, had recently written an article naming some potential future stars in management and coahing. Sarris gave her high praise, stating that "She received the most votes from our pool, and those came from rival executives, analysts who have worked with her, and independent contractors who saw the value in her work."

Prior to the Pirates hiring Sarah Gelles, they had two general managers listed under their directory, Kevan Graves, who has been with the organization since 2008, and Steve Sanders, who was hired shortly after the Pirates brought in Ben Cherington. Gelles hiring doesn’t necessarily mean that either/or Graves or Sanders are out of a job, but having three assistant general managers will lead to speculation over Cherington’s job security.

This next part is purely speculation and only my opinion, but to me, it feels like the Pirates are preparing for a potential long term future without Cherington. 2024 will be the year that determines if Cherington is ‘the guy’ or not. If the Pirates fail to take that next step, it’s quite possible Gelles is ‘the gal’ to help the Pirates move past the rebuilding phase fully. Of course, only time will tell on this.

The Pirates have now offered her what is, as of right now, the highest position of her professional career. It's quite possible that she works her way up to general manager, or president of baseball operations, with the Pirates or another team. Gelles looks like a promising hire based on her resume and the praise she has received throughout the industry. The Houston Astros have obviously been an extremely successful franchise over the last 7-8 seasons, regardless of the cheating scandal, and the Orioles truly made that next step in their rebuild last season. We shall see what Gelles can help the Pirates do.

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