Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN in Seattle was first to break the news a little while ago:
Yes, that would be former top prospect Jesus Montero. Remember him? After losing 40 pounds over the winter, the 25-year-old was batting .332/.370/.529 with 15 home runs and 68 RBI over 84 games this season with Triple-A Tacoma while leading the Pacific Coast League in a bunch of major offensive categories.
It’s unclear where Montero will fit on the roster. The Mariners finally gave up on him as a catcher in 2013, so he’s been splitting his time between first base and DH this season. Putting him in the lineup would likely push Nelson Cruz to the outfield, at least on a short-term basis. The Mariners are set to face three left-handed starters (Hector Santiago, C.J. Wilson, and Andrew Heaney) this weekend, which likely played into the timing of the move.
Things haven’t worked out for Montero since he came over in the Michael Pineda deal and it looked like the Mariners were ready to give up on him altogether at one point. Most of that was because of his own doing. But he has worked himself back into good shape and earned another opportunity. Let’s see if he can take advantage of it.
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.