Rangers acquire Alex Rios from White Sox

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Texas has found a replacement right fielder for the suspended Nelson Cruz.

Yesterday we learned that the Rangers put in the winning waiver claim for Alex Rios, setting up a potential trade with the White Sox, and Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal.

Rios can’t replace Cruz’s power, but he’s a much better defender with 30-steal speed and has hit .277 with 12 homers and a .747 OPS in 109 games this season. He’s also signed for next year at $12.5 million with a $13.5 million option or $1 million buyout for 2015, so Rios is much more than just a stretch-run pickup for the Rangers.

According to Hayes the White Sox will receive a player to be named later or cash for Rios, which suggests they were mostly interested in shedding the remainder of his contract. There’s speculation that the PTBNL will eventually be revealed as Leury Garcia, a 22-year-old middle infielder who hasn’t hit much in the minors yet.

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.