Jim Bowden reports — that always sounds weird, by the way — that the White Sox have not yet offered a contract to free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. And maybe they shouldn’t, because he has declined a great deal and he probably wants multiple years when he doesn’t really deserve them. But it does leave me wondering what the Sox plan on doing at catcher.
Why? Because while everyone has assumed for a couple of years that prospect Tyler Flowers would take over behind the plate once A.J. was gone, he didn’t have a great year in Charlotte, regressing pretty substantially after an outstanding 2009 split between Triple-A and Double-A. I saw him once when the Knights came to Columbus and, while I’m no scout, he had some pretty terrible-looking at bats.
Catcher take awhile to develop, but Flowers is going to be 25 in January. Can he be trusted to simply step in and competently handle the catching duties for the White Sox? And if not, who is going to be there to pick him up when he falters? A.J. Pierzynski? Someone else?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.