Report: The Phillies have asked about Cubs left-hander Travis Wood

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The Phillies and Cubs have been speculated as a potential match in a Cole Hamels trade, but the two sides could match up in a different deal. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has the scoop:

Hoyer wouldn’t disclose any of the specific players the Cubs are looking to acquire or trade. But sources during the week said the Phillies are one of several teams that have asked about left-hander Travis Wood and could be a match for catcher Welington Castillo. The Cubs like lefty-hitting Phils outfielder Ben Revere.

Wood is a weird target for the Phillies, as he’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and won’t be around the next time the team will likely be competitive, but they’ll need someone to log innings in 2015. Granted, they’ll likely get a pitcher back if they end up dealing Hamels this offseason, but the rest of their projected rotation includes Cliff Lee (who made just 13 starts in 2014 due to a flexor pronator strain), David Buchanan, Jerome Williams, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. That’s a questionable bunch. Wood turns 28 in February and posted an ugly 5.03 ERA and 146/76 K/BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings over 31 starts this past season.

It makes sense the Cubs will try to move Castillo now that he’s a backup to Miguel Montero, but it’s hard to see the Phillies as a fit for him unless they end up moving Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz, who turns 36 in January, is owed $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons while his $4.5 million club option for 2017 carries a $500,000 buyout. He has the ability to block deals to four teams.

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.