From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that the Diamondbacks have inked Cliff Pennington to a two-year, $5 million contract. The agreement covers the shortstop’s first two years of arbitration eligibility.
Pennington batted .215/.278/.311 with six homers, 18 doubles and 28 RBI in 462 plate appearances last season for the Athletics. He was traded to Arizona in late October — along with infield prospect Yordy Cabrera — in exchange for outfielder Chris Young.
Pennington will serve as a buffer at shortstop for the Snakes until Didi Gregorius is ready for the major leagues.
The 28-year-old former first-round pick is a .249/.313/.356 career hitter in the bigs.
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.