For years here, I have espoused what I like to call the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. It comes up every time there’s a controversy over a player not hustling. Busting it out of the batter’s box on a ground ball is, I argue, not worth it 99 percent of the time. The risk of getting injured outweighs the small chance of reaching base. It is not one of my popular viewpoints.
Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is the latest lightning rod in the hustle controversy. The veteran twice failed to run hard on what became double plays. Manager Mickey Callaway benched him on Monday for the lack of effort. Upon his return yesterday against the Nationals, the crowd booed him during an 0-for-4 effort.
On Wednesday, Canó came to the plate with a runner on second base and two outs in the third inning against Max Scherzer. He grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. He ran hard, though and suffered an injury in the process. Laura Albanese of Newsday reports that he left with left quad tightness.
Work smarter, not harder.
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.