After the dizzying amount of moves Ben Cherington has made in the past couple of days, it’s no wonder that some Pirates fans are fearful:
At this point I feel the pirates are gonna designate Reynolds for assignment— Max (@Max68864993) November 30, 2021
Fear not, Max!
We have agreed to terms with INF Kevin Newman on a contract for the 2022 season, thus avoiding arbitration.— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) December 1, 2021
We have also tendered contracts to OF Bryan Reynolds and RHP Chris Stratton for the 2022 season.
We did not tender a contract to RHP Chad Kuhl for the 2022 season.
It’s safe to say that B-Rey and Newms were just about the only ones who were semi-confident that they were not to be sacrificed on the Hot Stove Altar. Notice I say “semi” because GMBC, that’s why.
Last year, Cherington dropped the most apparent dead weights after the COVID-shortened season. This season, he had a full 162 games to evaluate everyone. I won’t deny that I was a bit surprised to see Jacob Stallings go, but this was really his first full season as a starting catcher. Roberto Perez is almost exactly a year older (seriously, his and Cheetah’s birthdays are 364 days apart), and he offers better defense, if not a better bat. Besides, young Henry Davis waits in the wings, and Perez should be a serviceable patch for now.
Kuhl Whip’s departure wasn’t a surprise, either. As good as it was to see him back on the mound after Tommy John surgery, he never quite rose to the occasion last season. Stratton was definitely one of the more reliable arms on the Bucs’ pitching staff, so it was good to see that vote of confidence in a week that was basically EVERYTHING MUST GO.
Is Ben Cherington done? It’s hard to say. The current collective bargaining agreement runs out tonight, and even though some are claiming that today wasn’t a deadline of any sort, the moves that have been made all over MLB say otherwise. It would be ludicrous to say that everybody’s safe. It’s only been a couple of weeks since it came out that other teams were sniffing around Reynolds. However, I don’t see B-Rey going for prospects. As for Newman, his glove speaks for itself, and he’s been known to hit. Even GMBC realizes that you can only stuff the minors so much.
With the exception of Stallings—and admittedly, it’s a small exception on my part—I don’t disagree with any move Cherington’s made. The free agents he’s signed are merely placeholders until the kids come up to the Show.
But I’ll miss using this GIF in the game threads: