Giants, Red Sox still in the picture for James Shields

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Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that the Giants and Red Sox are still “in the picture” for free agent starter James Shields, adding that the Yankees are another possible suitor. According to Cafardo’s source, Shields is expected to fetch five years and around $110 million.

It was reported on Saturday that Giants senior VP and GM Brian Sabean isn’t expected to speak with free agent starter Max Scherzer, but because Scherzer is expected to sign for close to $200 million, it makes sense that Shields would be a more realistic option for the Giants.

The Red Sox have overhauled their rotation, trading for Rick Porcello and Wade Miley and signing Justin Masterson. They could go into spring training happy with their rotation as-is, but bringing Shields on board would be an upgrade over Joe Kelly, currently in the #5 slot.

Shields, who turned 33 on Saturday, finished the 2014 season with a 14-8 record, a 3.21 ERA, and a 180/44 K/BB ratio in 227 innings for the Royals. He had mediocre results in the post-season, posting a 6.12 ERA in 25 innings. “Big Game James” took losses in both starts he made against the Giants in World Series Games 1 and 5.

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.