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Report: Cardinals to sign Matt Wieters to minor league deal

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The Cardinals are expected to sign catcher Matt Wieters to a minor league deal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The deal is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Wieters, 32, spent the last two seasons with the Nationals, putting up disappointing numbers. In 199 games, he posted a .658 OPS with 18 home runs and 82 RBI. Baseball Reference has the switch-hitting backstop at exactly replacement level (zero WAR) as a National. Wieters posted 18 WAR across eight seasons with the Orioles prior to that.

Wieters will attempt to win a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster as a back-up to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The club has prospect Andrew Knizner waiting in the wings, but having a veteran back-up will allow them to bring him along slowly.

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.