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Report: Braves sign Dallas Keuchel to one-year, $13 million deal

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As expected, the Braves have signed free agent starter Dallas Keuchel, David O’Brien of The Athletic reports. Per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for one year and $13 million.

Keuchel, 31, posted a 3.74 ERA with 153 strikeouts and 58 walks across 204 2/3 innings for the Astros last year. Due to purported concerns about his declining velocity, strikeout rate, and age — as well as the draft pick compensation that had been attached to him — he spent seven months as a free agent, just ahead of reliever Craig Kimbrel who signed with the Cubs on Wednesday.

Keuchel will likely need a couple of weeks getting back into game shape by making some starts in the minors. When he joins the major league rotation, he may displace struggling right-hander Kevin Gausman, slotting in behind Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Soroka, and Max Fried.

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.