Lou Piniella and the Devil Rays
The latest news out of Tampa is that Lou’s agent is meeting with Devil Rays officials. Lou said he doesn’t know anything about it, but given his recent open discontent with the situation there, and his statements about his regret in taking the job there (in particular, saying that his next decision will be driven by his own priorities and not family concerns), it seems reasonable that Piniella and the Devil Rays may be looking for a way out.
The ownership probably feels like they’ve got better things to do with their money than spend $4.5m next year on a manager that doesn’t want to be there, is respected aaaand badmouths them.
Lou, meanwhile, would like a better job.
This has led to speculation that runs in two directions:
– he’ll go to New York, where Steinbrenner has always said he regrets letting Piniella go and would like to re-hire him, and the team is struggling
– he’ll come back to Seattle
We certainly can’t speak to the first. Who knows what crazy things Steinbrenner will do? I doubt Steinbrenner has any idea what he might do by the end of the season.
But Seattle? It’s unlikely. They’ve hired Hargrove, he’s got years on his contract, and it’s not clear that they’d want Lou back anyway. If he’s complaining about the long, badly-run rebuilding effort in Tampa, would they want him back without knowing if the next division contender is going to come in 2006, 2007, or later? And is Lou the manager you want on your team if you’re trying to rebuild around some strange and frustrating prospects around a pitching phenom?
And in the same way, does Lou want that? It would seem like if he and the Devil Rays parted ways after this year, Seattle would not be the best match available, and Piniella might not be the best match for the team on the field and the ownership group.
… and now I go on vacation. Later all. And remember, two “i”s in Piniella. Pin-i-ella.