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Report: Washington Nationals sign Kurt Suzuki

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Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal with catcher Kurt Suzuki. Financial terms are not yet known. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is reportedly for $10 million over the two years in total.

Suzuki hit .271/.332/.444 with 12 homers in 388 plate appearances in 2018 and has an .825 OPS over the past two seasons. Those two years are substantially better offensively than anything he did over the previous ten years of his career. He turned 35 in early October.

Given his age and how much of an outlier those two seasons were offensively, it’s hard to guess what he’ll do going forward, but even some regression from these recent highs will serve the Nats well if they use Suzuki wisely. He’s not a full-time catcher, really, having worked in a co-starting situation in Atlanta for the past two years. Assuming Washington pairs him up with someone who can play at least 60 or 70 games himself, they’ll have a pretty decent catching duo.

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.