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Report: Ben Cherington in the running to become Pirates’ president of baseball operations

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Ben Cherington, the current Blue Jays vice president of baseball operations, is a candidate to become the Pirates’ president of baseball operations. Cherington is second in command to Tony Lacava in Toronto.

The Pirates cleaned house following another disappointing season, firing manager Clint Hurdle, pitching coach Ray Searage, GM Neal Huntington, and president Frank Coonelly. The Pirates finished 69-93, their worst record since 2010.

If he were to land the job, the 45-year-old Cherington would head up his own department in Pittsburgh, having to revamp both a coaching staff and a roster. Prior to joining the Jays, Cherington was GM of the Red Sox from October 2011 to August 2015.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).