Braves showing interest in Padres’ Joe Thatcher

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Braves “have shown interest” in acquiring left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher from the Padres.

Rosenthal notes that other teams are in the mix.

Thatcher, 31, has posted a dominant 2.15 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 29/4 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings of relief this season for San Diego while holding left-handed batters to a .190/.235/.206 slash line. He’s making $1.35 million this summer and will be arbitration-eligible for third and final time heading into 2014.

A shutdown lefty specialist would be the perfect pickup for a first-place Atlanta team that appears capable of a late postseason run.

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.