Going into year five as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's time for Ben Cherington to field a winning team
On November 19th, 2019, Ben Cherington was hired as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the time of the hire, there was some excitement around Cherington. He did win a World Series as general manager of the Boston Red Sox after all.
Well, unfortunately, things have not gone as well for the Pirates under Cherington's guidance.
In the COVID shortened 2020 season, instead of making an attempt to compete for a postseason berth during the 60 gmae season, the Pirates were awful. The Bucs finished a MLB worst 19-41. Over the course of a full season, this would be a 51-111 pace.
Cherington and the Pirates then followed that up with back-to-back 100 loss seasons in 2021 and 2022. Based on winning percentage, 2020-2022 was one of the worst three year stretches in franchise history.
The 2023 season saw the Pirates get off to a blistering start in April, owning the best record in the National League at the end of the first month of the season. The success would be short lived, however, as the Bucs limped to a 76-86 finish.
Going 76-86 gave the Pirates four losing seasons in as many with Cherington as GM. As a MLB GM, Cherington has now finished with a losing record in 7 of his 8 seasons. This includes finishing in last place in their division six times.
Looking ahead to 2024 there is undeniable pressure on Ben Cherington. It's year five, the rebuilding needs to be over. It's time to try and win baseball games, not to be throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.
Unfortunately, there is little reason to expect the Pirates to be better in 2024.
Currently, the team's starting rotation is the worst in the NL Central. First base against right-handed pitching, second base, and either right field or designated hitter (whichever Andrew McCutchen does not do) is a major question mark. Not to mention the Pirates being in desperate need of Henry Davis taking a step forward this season, as well as having zero idea what Oneil Cruz will give the team coming off a catastrophic injury.
Cherington has done a bad job this offseason. Considering this was an awful offseason for him, that is not good. Sure, the Pirates are better now than they were when the 2023 season ended, but they're still not close to competing for a winning record or postseason berth.
A losing record in 2024 should get Cherington fired. To be honest, he should have already been fired. Through all of the losing he's failed to accumulate much talent. Outside of Paul Skenes and Termarr Johnson, the Pirate farm system looks pretty bleak.
No matter the circumstances, if the Pirates have a losing record in 2024 Cherington needs fired, The pressure is one for Cherington and his staff in 2024. It's time to start winning baseball games in Pittsburgh again.