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Jurickson Profar sent to Athletics in three-team trade

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Athletics have acquired Jurickson Profar from the Rangers in a trade. It’s actually part of a three-team deal, Passan reports, involving the Tampa Bay Rays and a bunch of minor leaguers.

The core of the trade, Passan says, is Profar to Oakland, prospects Brock Burke, Eli White, Kyle Bird, Yoel Espinal and international bonus pool money to Texas, and the Rays will get reliever Emilio Pagan, prospect Rollie Lacy and a competitive balance pick.

Profar, baseball’s top prospect once upon a time, will turn 26 during spring training. While his career has been marred by serious injury, he is coming off his first full — and his best — season in 2018. This past year he hit .254/.335/.458 with 20 homers, 77 RBI and stole ten bases in 146 games while playing shortstop, first, second, third and left field. It’s possible that the A’s view him as that kind of a super utilityman, the sort of which has become increasingly valuable in a game with big bullpens and short benches. It’s also possible that he’ll be given second base full time now that Jed Lowrie is departing via free agency.

Pagan has two big league seasons under his belt, and pitched 55 games in relief for the A’s in 2018. The Rays use relievers like nobody’s business, so it’s not surprising they wanted an arm in the deal. Lacy is a 23 year-old lefty who has not pitched above High-A yet. That draft pick has a slot value of $1.88 million and may be the most valuable thing heading to Tampa Bay in this deal.

Brock Burke, the Rays’ third round pick in the 2014 draft, is a lefty starter who split time between High-A and Double-A last year. He has some serious gas. White is a utility type who has spent a good deal of time in both the infield and outfield. He’s 24 and hit pretty well in the Texas League in 2018.

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.