The Braves designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment on Monday to make room for infielder Alberto Callaspo on the 40-man roster. Now it looks like they have a taker for him:
Varvaro has posted a 2.74 ERA in 123 appearances over the past two seasons. In 2014 the right-hander averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine and only walked and 2.1 batters per nine, while inducing ground balls nearly 50% of the time. In short: he’s a pretty useful reliever.
In return, the Braves are getting minor league righty Aaron Kurcz and cash. Kurcz pitched pretty well in Double-A last year, striking out over 11 dudes per nine, but he missed all of 2013. Which, I presume anyway, means he had surgery of some kind.
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.