The Athletics are shopping Brandon Allen

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Apparently Billy Beane has realized that he has way too many first baseman on his 40-man roster. With Daric Barton, Chris Carter and possibly Kila Ka-aihue in the mix for roster spots during spring training, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Athletics are shopping Brandon Allen.

Allen, who turns 26 in February, was acquired from the Diamondbacks last July in the Brad Ziegler trade. He has regularly mashed minor league pitching, including a .991 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League last season, but owns an underwhelming .210/.297/.383 batting line over 367 plate appearances at the major league level.

Allen is quickly running out of chances to prove that his minor league numbers can translate to big league success, but he’d make sense as a low-risk flier for several clubs. It’s not clear who the Athletics are talking to, but the Rays (hat-tip to R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus) have been linked to Allen in the past. The Pirates, Orioles, Brewers and Indians are among other potential landing spots.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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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.