Orioles decline $11 million option on Mark Reynolds

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Baltimore has declined its $11 million team option on Mark Reynolds after he set a career-low in slugging percentage while being moved from third base to first base.

However, because he’s still an arbitration-eligible player Reynolds does not simply become an outright free agent. Instead, as Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports, the Orioles have until November 30 to decide if they want to offer him arbitration.

If they do that, he’d likely get a raise on this year’s $7.5 million salary, but perhaps to a lesser amount than the $11 million option. If instead they non-tender Reynolds the 29-year-old slugger will hit the open market with a $500,000 buyout.

Reynolds would be an interesting free agent because despite hitting just .213 during the past three seasons and striking out as much as any hitter in baseball he’s never posted an OPS below .750 and has 35-homer power. In a weak year for first basemen it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a multi-year deal from a team in need of right-handed power.

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.