Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Thursday that he has spoken to general manager Doug Melvin about the possibility of Ryan Braun moving to first base”
“I think he’s a good defender in the outfield, learning a new position that he picked up pretty fast. I think he’ll continue to get better in right. We haven’t approached (Braun) about it. It’s just kind of what the needs are. We have (Gerardo) Parra here now and we need to figure out what to do with him for next year.”
The talks aren’t serious yet, but the fact is that the Brewers have four outfielders — Khris Davis, Carlos Gomez, Gerardo Parra and Braun — and three of them are better than Braun. And, of course, Mark Reynolds is not a long-term solution at first base.
Braun, of course, would need to bounce back on offense in order to be worth his contract at first base. He has hit a poor-for-him .269/.323/.457 this year, with 19 homers and 81 RBI. That won’t cut it long-term in an outfield corner for a guy who makes what he makes, and certainly won’t play efficiently at first base.
Braun battled a serious hand injury all year. Milwaukee had better hope that was the problem. And not something else. Like, say, a big falloff by virtue of playing clean.
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.