Benjamin P. Cherington
Ben Cherington was a video advance scout for the Cleveland Indians in 1998. In 1999, he worked as a Boston Red Sox area scout then moved to the baseball operations side. He was coordinator of international scouting for Boston, then assistant director of player development. As a scout, he signed Jesús Delgado. In December 2002, he was appointed Director of Player Development. He was co-General Manager (with Jed Hoyer) of the Red Sox in December 2005 and January 2006, during Theo Epstein's brief exit from that post. From January 2006-November 2011, Cherington was a Vice President of the Red Sox, adding assistant GM to his title in January 2009. When Epstein left for good in November 2011, Cherington became GM. He was at least the third GM who went to Amherst, as Neal Huntington and Harry Dalton had also gone there.
One of the first decisions Cherington had to make as GM was hiring a new manager to replace the departed Terry Francona; however, it was owner Larry Lucchino who made the final decision to hire veteran Bobby Valentine, who would quickly prove to be a poor fit in Boston. As the 2012 season quickly unraveled, Cherington made a number of big trades in an attempt to stop the bleeding, first sending veteran Red Sox icon Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox to make room for rooke Will Middlebrooks to play regularly at third base, and in late August pulling an absolute blockbuster trade when he sent high-priced veterans Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did not receive much talent in return in the two deals, but cleared a lot of salary room to allow him to build a team to his liking in 2013. That process began when Valentine was fired a day after the season ended. Cherington got to chose his successor himself this time and picked a man he was familiar with, former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. That choice cost him another veteran player, though, as SS Mike Aviles went to the Toronto Blue Jays as compensation for Farrell's signing when he still had a year left to go on his Jays' contract. He also decided to sign players who were less in demand, but had specific skills that they would bring to the team, without tying it down in long-term obligations: OFs Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes thus joined the Sox, along with SS Stephen Drew and SP Ryan Dempster.
The moves worked better than anyone could have anticipated. the Sox took over first place in the AL East from the start of the 2013 season, and never let it go for more than a couple of days. They overcame injuries to three key members of their bullpen - Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Miller - and replaced them internally, with Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and an expanded role for Craig Breslow. When the team needed an extra starter for the stretch drive, he did not hesitate to trade rookie sensation Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade that landed Jake Peavy. The Sox won all three rounds of the postseason, culminating with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series to give Boston its third title in 10 seasons. Cherington was named the Major League Executive of the Year by the Sporting News in recognition of his excellent work in turning around the team's fortunes.
However, 2014 was another trying year, with the Red Sox quickly falling into last place in the AL East and staying there. In addition to CF Jacoby Ellsbury leaving as a free agent before the season, Cherington traded away a number of veterans in order to re-energize the team, but the moves failed to have an immediate impact. Gone in mid-season, were long-time ace Jon Lester and John Lackey, with OFs Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, as well as P Joe Kelly coming aboard. He also signed Cuban defector Rusney Castillo to a large contract, and he made his major league debut at the end of the season. Two youngsters who were given a lot of playing time, SS Xander Bogaerts and CF Jackie Bradley, had so-so years, but the less heralded Brock Holt , a super-utility player, and diminutive OF Mookie Betts made significant contributions.
More moves followed before the 2015 season. Just a few months after his acquisition, OF Cespedes was shipped to the Detroit Tigers, landing P Rick Porcello. Another starting pitchers, Wade Miley, came in a trade, while Cherington signed two free agents, SS Hanley Ramirez, who was moved to the outfield, and 3B Pablo Sandoval. The Sox started the a season well, but soon began losing again, as the starting pitching failed to jell, and they fell back to last place. The Sox were sellers at the trading deadline, with 1B Napoli and OF Victorino being dealt away. The front office also underwent a shake-up, with team President Larry Lucchino announcing in early August that he would be retiring at the end of the year, and manager Farrell taking an extensive leave of absence to undergo chemotherapy. However the most shocking move came on August 18th, when the Red Sox announced that Dave Dombrowski, who had just been let go as GM of the Detroit Tigers was being hired as Vice-President of baseball operations. Dombrowski immediately stated that he wanted Cherington to stay in place, but not wanting to play second fiddle to such a strong personality, Ben handed in his resignation the same day.
Cherington re-surfaced a year later, on September 14, 2016, when he accepted the job of Vice-President for baseball operations with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was to act as right-hand man to General Manager Ross Atkins, with responsibility for player development. On November 18, 2019, he was named General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, succeeding Neal Huntington.
Source: 2011 Red Sox Media Guide
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