Red Sox president Larry Lucchino “disappointed” in failure to sign Jon Lester

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Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said of his team’s failure to sign then-free agent Jon Lester, “we’re disappointed” and “certainly have regrets”, reports John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Lester inked a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs earlier this week. The Red Sox had gone as high as $135 million over six years, which is two more years and $65 million more than they had offered Lester back in March.

“If he would have accepted [the $135 million offer], we’d have been very pleased,” Lucchino said.

Once Lester was off the market, the Red Sox signed Justin Masterson to a one-year deal worth $9.5 million, acquired Wade Miley in a trade with the Diamondbacks, and traded with the Tigers for Rick Porcello. As a result, the starting rotation is now set, but the Red Sox could still make an upgrade by moving a pitcher. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports suggests that Phillies ace Cole Hamels would still be a target if they can move Joe Kelly in such a deal.

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.