Associated Press

Colby Rasmus leaves Orioles, plans to retire

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Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports that outfielder Colby Rasmus asked Orioles manager Buck Showalter for permission to leave the team, with the apparent plan to retire. Showalter granted his request and Rasmus has been placed on the restricted list. The reason for Rasmus’ departure was not given, and Showalter cited the players’ privacy for not divulging it.

It’s not unreasonable to believe, however, that Rasmus simply isn’t enjoying baseball anymore. After all, this is the second time in as many seasons that Rasmus has left his team mid-season, doing so with the Rays last July. That departure was at least somewhat connected to a hip injury that he he suffered early in the season. Whether there is a physical component to this year’s decision is unknown. He may simply be ready to do something else with his life.

Rasmus has played in only 18 games this year, with only six hits in 45 at bats. If this is the end of his career, he finishes with a line of .241/.310/.436 and 166 homers and 491 RBI in 1,092 games with the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Astros, Rays and Orioles, making playoff appearances in 2009 and 2015.

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.