It took him 65 games, but Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is finally on the board. Hardy belted his first home run of the season, taking a 95 MPH Jose Ramirez fastball out to left field at Yankee Stadium.
Between 2007-13, the only shortstops who out-homered Hardy (144) were Troy Tulowitzki (154) and Hanley Ramirez (161). That’s why it was such a surprise to see Hardy on such a lengthy homerless drought. His last home run, prior to Saturday afternoon, occurred on September 5, 2013 against the White Sox.
Hardy, 31, will be free agent after the season following the conclusion of a three-year, $22.25 million contract with the Orioles. He is slashing .291/.319/.368 with the one homer and 16 RBI on the season.
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.