Astros and Chris Carter avoid arbitration

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Astros and DH Chris Carter have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $4.175 million. Carter was eligible for arbitration for the first of four years.

Carter, 28, had a breakout season for the Astros in 2014, batting .227/.308/.491 with 37 home runs and 88 RBI in 572 plate appearances. Part of his offensive success can be attributed to striking out 30 fewer times than he did in 2013 in a comparable amount of PA’s.

Carter was taken by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 draft. He went to the Diamondbacks in the Carlos Quentin deal in December 2007 and shortly thereafter went to the Athletics (along with Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson) in the Dan Haren trade. The Astros acquired him in February 2013 in the Jed Lowrie trade.

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.