The defending American League champion Indians are reportedly “pulling out all the stops” for free agent 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
The Indians have been in pursuit of a free agent first baseman, having also been linked to Mike Napoli, Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter, and Adam Lind. Meanwhile, Encarnacion has reportedly received multi-year offers from six teams, per his agent Paul Kinzer.
Encarnacion, who turns 34 years old next month, had a terrific 2016 season, batting .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and 127 RBI in 702 plate appearances. The Indians got decent production from the first base position out of Napoli, but Encarnacion would be a big upgrade.
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.