Report: Padres tried to sign Hiroki Kuroda

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Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that before starter Hiroki Kuroda decided to return to Japan, the Padres made a serious push to sign the right-hander. A source for Sanders suggested that a report of a one-year deal worth $18 million was “a little high”, but it nevertheless showed the Padres’ commitment towards competing in the 2015 season.

Kuroda, 39, finished his final season in the major leagues with a 3.71 ERA and a 146/35 K/BB ratio in 199 innings for the Yankees. In seven seasons in the bigs (four with the Dodgers, three with the Yankees), Kuroda never finished with an ERA higher than 3.76. The veteran will play what is likely his last professional season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan’s Central League.

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.