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Joe Nathan to officially retire this Friday

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Bob Nightengale reports that Joe Nathan will officially announce his retirement at a ceremony at Target Field this Friday evening.

It was pretty clear that Nathan, who was released by the Nationals early this season, was at the end of the line, but it’s nice that the Twins will give him a proper sendoff. Nathan pitched in Minnesota for seven seasons in his 16 year career, saving 260 games for the Twins and posting a fantastic ERA+ of 204 and striking out 10.9 batters per nine innings over that span. Following Tommy John surgery he lodged a couple of solid seasons in Texas before going on to Detroit before a second Tommy John surgery in early 2015 basically ended his career. He’d make shot stops in San Francisco and Chicago before signing a minor league deal with Washington.

In all, Nathan compiled a record of 64-34 with a 2.87 ERA (ERA+ 151) and 377 saves, which puts him at number eight on the all-time list, just behind Dennis Eckersley and just ahead of Jonathan Papelbon.

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.