Johnny Cueto was nearly traded to the Royals on Saturday

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According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, the Cincinnati Reds were just a step or two away from trading ace right-hander Johnny Cueto to the Royals on Saturday evening.

The deal was so close to happening that Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen began warming up for Saturday night’s game against the Rockies in anticipation of Cueto departing immediately for Kansas City. Cueto did end up starting the game and he went eight scoreless innings at Coors Field, the least pitcher-friendly park in the majors. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Cueto was upset that he learned from Lorenzen, instead of the Reds management, that a deal was close. Maybe it added some fuel to his dominant performance.

According to Rosenthal, the trade broke down when one of the players due to be sent from the Royals to the Reds did not check out medically. It figures that the two sides aren’t completely done talking.

Cueto, a 29-year-old impending free agent, boasts a 2.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 120/29 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings this season. He’s also been linked to the Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros.

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.