Carlos Gonzalez is on fire; next up on Rockies’ trade block?

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Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez missed 92 games with injuries last season and struggled when he was healthy enough to play, so when the 29-year-old two-time All-Star got off to a bad start this year it was cause for major concern in Colorado.

Gonzalez hit just .188 with two homers and a .542 OPS through 29 games despite claiming to be fully healthy. Something seemed to click for him in mid-May and since then he’s hit .319 with 18 homers and a .990 OPS in 61 games.

That includes two homers last night, two homers Sunday, two homers Friday, and one homer Thursday for a five-game stretch in which Gonzalez went 12-for-21 (.571) with seven homers, 15 RBIs, and a 2.180 OPS.

And in the wake of trading Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, might the Rockies look to deal Gonzalez now that he’s performing like a middle-of-the-order star again? He’s owed $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.

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.