Ken Rosenthal reports the Nationals are talking to the White Sox about closer David Robertson.
Man, it’s as if they have no faith in Joe Nathan. And as if they’ve lost Jonathan Papelbon‘s phone number. Sad.
Seriously, though, the Nats could use a closer having watched Mark Melancon leave via free agency, and Robertson is probably the best one who could be had. The issue, of course, is that the White Sox promised him a lot of money when they signed him and he’s still owed $25 million over the next two seasons. As for last season, Robertson posted a 3.47 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 75/32 in 62.1 innings while notching 37 saves. He’d probably do a heck of a lot better pitching in the NL — a change of scenery away from the South Side of Chicago can do any pitcher good — and, of course, he is a Proven Closer.™ But he’s nowhere near as good now as he was when he was setting up for the Yankees and that contract is a lot to take on for a reliever.
The Nats haven’t done a ton this winter. And they may not really have to in order to win the NL East, but this is probably one worth watching.
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.