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Pirates hire Ben Cherington as GM, per report

The Pirates hire a World Series-winning GM to help them break their 40-year championship drought.

Ben Cherington Leaves Red Sox Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Pirates are giving former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington a second chance at running a major-league baseball operations department. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey was the first to report Friday that Pittsburgh had hired Cherington to replace the fired Neal Huntington:

The 45-year-old Cherington, who has completed educational programs at a trio of Massachusetts institutions (Amherst College, UMass, and Harvard), served as an assistant in the Red Sox’s front office beginning in 1999, and he played a role in shaping the 2004 and 2007 World Series-winning clubs, also serving as interim co-general manager alongside Jed Hoyer for five weeks from 2005-06 when Theo Epstein stepped away from the team. He was promoted to general manager when Epstein left the organization following the 2011 season, and he built a Red Sox team that won the 2013 World Series. However, he failed to maintain the momentum from that championship victory and left the organization late in the 2015 season after veteran exec Dave Dombrowski was hired to be his supervisor.

It’d be interesting to know if Cherington’s work since his departure from the Red Sox organization at all enhanced his candidacy for the Pirates job. He’s served as the Blue Jays’ vice president of baseball operations since September of 2016, and while Toronto has graduated some intriguing young players to the big leagues during that time period, they’ve gone from being a team that reached two straight American League Championship Series in 2015-16 to a cellar-dweller (three straight losing seasons and fourth-place finishes) with no obvious path to competitiveness in sight.