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Rick Kranitz named Braves new pitching coach

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The Braves have named Rick Kranitz as their new pitching coach. Krantiz was recently let go as the pitching coach of the Phillies in an oddly-timed move that raised some eyebrows. The Braves, meanwhile, fired their pitching coach, Chuck Hernandez, just after the season ended.

Atlanta has a number of near-ready starting pitchers who are likely to break into the majors in 2019. It’s always hard to determine what, exactly, makes a good pitching coach, but Krantiz was given a good degree of credit for the emergence Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin in Philly, and the Braves no doubt hope he can help matters in Atlanta.

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.