A’s sign Ryan Roberts to minor league contract

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As first reported by Jeff Hem, the play-by-play announcer for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the Athletics have signed veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league contract. He is starting at third base and batting fifth for Nashville on Sunday afternoon.

Roberts was released by the Royals near the end of spring training after struggling in the Cactus League. The 34-year-old hasn’t been an effective major league player since 2011, when he hit .249/.341/.427 with 19 home runs and 18 stolen bases across 143 games for the Diamondbacks. It was by far his best season.

Roberts went 2-for-19 (.105) in eight games last summer with the Red Sox.

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.