The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only team without a general manager in place, having fired longtime executive Neal Huntington on Oct. 28. That could soon change, however, as the Pirates are down to three candidates for the position, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Two of the finalists are believed to be Ben Cherington and Matt Arnold.
Of the two, Cherington is the one who has past experience running an organization. He was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox from October 2011 until August 2015. Cherington assembled the 2013 World Series championship team, but saw his teams finish with losing records in his other three years.
The mixed-bag element of Cherington’s tenure extended to roster moves, too. On the one hand, he resisted trading talented youngsters such as Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts who later helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series. On the other hand, he handed out what proved to be regrettable deals to Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo. Since departing the Red Sox, Cherington has worked with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Arnold, meanwhile, is currently the Milwaukee Brewers assistant GM. In the past, he’s worked with the Tampa Bay Rays, among other organizations. He’s never been in charge of a franchise, but he is held in high regard around the game and has interviewed for various other gigs.
At the moment, the other finalist is unknown. The Pirates had been connected with former Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, among others. That’s worth noting in part because Duquette originally hired Cherington during his time with the Red Sox.
Whoever gets the gig will have their hands full. The Pirates played like a 55-win team during the second half and have one of the majors’ smallest payrolls. Additionally, Pittsburgh is one of two teams — alongside the San Francisco Giants — without a manager in place. Skipper Clint Hurdle was dismissed at the end of the season.