The Pirates made it official Monday, naming Ben Cherington as the 13th general manager in franchise history.
Cherington succeeds Neal Huntington, who was fired on Oct. 28 after 12 years on the job.
Cherington has spent more than 20 years in baseball, including 17 with the Boston Red Sox, where he served as executive vice president/general manager for nearly four years.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting called the decision to bring Cherington aboard “an important step forward for our organization.”
“Ben has an incredible track record of success having been a part of three World Championship teams in Boston, one as general manager, and setting the table for a fourth,” Nutting said in a release posted on the Pirates’ website.
“His passion and ability to identify, infuse and develop talent at every level, including at the Major League level, is exactly what we need to be successful in Pittsburgh.”
Cherington has spent the last three seasons as vice president of baseball operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, helping them build a farm system that Baseball America ranked third-best in the major leagues entering the 2019 season.
During his time in Boston, Cherington served as vice president of player personnel for two years, overseeing amateur scouting and player development. Prior to being named Red Sox general manager in late 2011, he was the club’s senior vice president and assistant general manager.
Cherington called the Pirates’ post “the ideal opportunity for me, and the only one I was interested in exploring.”
“The four pillars that will drive our success are elite talent identification, acquisition, development and deployment,” he said. “My entire career has been spent focusing on developing great systems to be elite in these four critical areas, which will fuel our future success in Pittsburgh.
“I have always appreciated the passion of Pittsburgh sports fans. My sense is that Pirates fans appreciate hard work, honest effort, and people and players they can trust. All things that I can respect and identify with. My wife and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this community.”
Pirates team President Travis Williams said Cherington is exactly what the Pirates need.
“He knows how to develop a winning culture,” he said. “He also has a track record of attracting and developing talent, both on the field and in the front office. Ben is constantly challenging himself, his people and the processes that are in place. He knows that our ability to drive innovation and stay ahead of the game will be important to our long-term success.”
At a press conference introducing Cherington, Williams said the Pirates needed to find someone to work with him to build a winning culture and get back to a winning tradition. He said Cherington has a “great baseball mind” that will help crack the code to be successful in a market like Pittsburgh.