Is Piniella On His Way Out?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Yankees plan on meeting in Tampa next week to discuss Joe Torre's status with the team. Many names are surfacing as being possible candidates, but not Lou Piniella. Piniella is under contract with the Cubs till 2009, but has said he would listen if the Yankees were looking for a new manager. This was brought up last October when the Cubs signed Lou: There are no escape clauses in his contract so he can walk when he chooses. Although I would not want to see Lou Piniella leave the Cubs, I wouldn't be upset with someone like Joe Girardi managing the team. He wanted the team last year and missed out, but almost lead the Marlins to the playoffs the year before. The reason why it wouldn't be the end of the world is because the Cubs would get something in return from the Yankees. When Lou Piniella walked away from the Mariners to join the Devil Rays, the Devil Rays sent Randy Winn and a minor leaguer to the Mariners because he left. If the Yankees do sign Piniella and he leaves the Cubs, it would be fair to say the Cubs could get Johnny Damon and cash. Winn batted .298 with 14 HR and 75 RBI the year he was traded to the Mariners while Damon batted .270 with 12 HR and 63 RBI this year. Yes Damon has had a better career than Winn but he is the odd man out in the Yankee outfield and trading him to the Cubs gets him out of the league where he can't hurt them and it clears the way for Melky Cabrera. Also, the Cubs are looking for an outfielder and with the sale of the Cubs, they do not have much money to spend. Damon is making 13 million for the next two seasons and if the Yankees were to take 8 to 10 million of that contract for the next two seasons, it could happen. Damon would play center field for the Cubs while Jacquie Jones would move to right field and it would also allow the Cubs to trade top prospect Felix Pie while his value is still high. Or, he could be mentored by Damon and Jones for the next two years until he is ready for an everyday job.

Why it helps the Yankees?:
The Yankees are looking for a manager and need someone who can manage in a big city, and handle the media. He has done wonders with young talent and with the plethora coming up to New York, their potential for the future is through the roof. Lou is also one of the only managers who is good friends with George Steinbrenner, and knows how to handle him. Furthermore, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada respect Lou Piniella from interactions in the years past and might not walk if he were to come in.

Why it helps the Cubs?:
Although Lou Piniella was loved by his players, he did put stress on some of them as well. He did play favorites often throughout the year and often criticizes players openly to the media. Players like Michael Barrett and Jason Marquis were both criticized by Piniella who suggested they should be traded. However, he gave the Cubbies their swagger and now they are used to his style of play. They would have a hard time adjusting to a new coaching staff just after adjusting to a new manager. He also fired them up in late June and sent them into the playoffs which is why I am against it. Imagine a lineup with Damon at the top of the order:

CF Johnny Damon
2B Mark DeRosa
LF Alfonso Soriano
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Jacque Jones
C Geovanny Soto
SS Ryan Theriot

For Cubs fans, when it is all said and done it isn't up to them. It is up to the Yankees and if they want Piniella. Then, the decision goes to him. I do not see this happening just because I think the Yankees will see how valuable Torre is to them, but it wouldn't surprise me if this happened in lets say, two years.


Anonymous 7:45 PM CDT  

I wouldnt mind Damon in the lineup but i dont think this will happen.

Anonymous 8:38 PM CDT  

I really don't understand your big obession with Lou Pinella. What swaggert did he give the Cubs?....The three straight loss wimper to the Diamondbacks. Or was it the 29-28 record in the months of Aug. and Sept. carried by the bat of Soriano with 14 HRs, 27 RBIs and a .320 BA. The Cubs went 8-11 when Alfonsio was on the DL in August. Lou is not a very good manager. Get a better one and the Cubs would have had over 95 wins this year and a spot in the NCLS...They have the talent!!!

Anonymous 9:18 PM CDT  

Give the man his due. He took the '06 team and improved their record by 18 games, even with a horrendously slow start. There were several new additions to the lineup and they needed to mesh, which took time. I think his accomplishment was impressive. As a life-long Cubs fan, I am excited for next year and think Lou is the guy to build on his initial success. I hope Torre keeps his job and this speculation ends in a hurry.

Anonymous 10:49 PM CDT  

i think another guy that deserves credit for the Cubs success is having a healthy Derrek Lee back in the lineup for most of the year...without him, that lineup is much weaker....personally i think Pinella is overrated, come to think of it, i feel the same way about Ozzie Guillen....i guess i just got it in for the Windy City coaches, haha

Anonymous 8:58 AM CDT  

Lee didn't really do much for the Cubs this year. Sure he was healthier and put up decent numbers, but wasn't even close to the impact player that he was in 2005. I think the biggest mistake Lou made was keeping him in the 3 spot. He should have moved Soriano to 3rd and Lee to 5th. Honestly, watching tons of Cubs games this year I can't see how Lee kept his average where it was, he never seemed to come through with big hits. Same with Soriano who kills the ball with the bases empty and then looks terrible whenever there were guys to drive in. I guess that's why he insists on leading off, he simply can't hit with men on base, not exactly what you want from a guy you gave the 5th richest contract in MLB history.

Anonymous 4:25 PM CDT  

I think overall Lou did a great job. They made it to the playoffs considering the slow start they had. And if you ask me I think Soriano should bat somewhere in the middle of the lineup. Use the power to drive in more runs. He had 33 homeruns but only 70 rbi. Very low for that many homeruns.

Anonymous 8:16 PM CDT  

I see the Cubs having a better season in 2008. I see Lee, Soriano, and Ramirez putting up bigger numbers.