LaTroy Hawkins “likely” to return to Mets next season

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LaTroy Hawkins enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career as a member of the Mets in 2013 and Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the veteran reliever is “likely” to return to the club for his age-41 season next year.

The Mets are one of two teams who have contacted Hawkins thus far. While no numbers have been discussed, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has placed a call to his representatives, which one source says is a sign that the club is “serious” about getting something done soon.

Hawkins had to settle for a minor league deal last winter, but he’s in line for a nice payday after posting a 2.93 ERA and 55/10 K/BB ratio over 70 2/3 innings this season. While he ended up saving 13 games after Bobby Parnell went down with a neck injury, he’d ideally slot back into a set-up capacity in 2014.

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.