View Full Version : Piniella: Cubs' gig "is my last job"

03-04-2008, 09:32 AM
Thus endeth any hope for Piniella fans of a return of Sweet Lou to Cincinnati someday.


Cubs or bust for Piniella: "This is my last job."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 2:45 AM PST


PEORIA, Ariz. - Lou Piniella is still waiting for his last managerial job to get easier.

The Chicago Cubs manager returned to one of his favorite places Monday, the spring training home of the Seattle Mariners, the team he led for 10 years through its glory years ending in 2002.

The 64-year-old Piniella used the homecoming to declare this is the fifth and final stop on a largely successful managing carousel that began in 1986 with the Yankees. It's included a World Series title with Cincinnati in 1990 and an AL-record 116 wins with Seattle in 2001.

"This will be my last job, I can tell you that," Piniella said before his Cubs, injury-wracked already this spring, beat the Mariners 6-5. "Maybe a little consulting job somewhere, but outside of that, no, this will be it managing-wise."

When asked if would be open to an extension of his contract worth nearly $10 million, which is scheduled to end after the '09 season but has an option year for 2010, Piniella said: "Oh, I didn't say anything. All I am saying is I've got this year and next year. Nothing more and nothing less.

"As long as I am enjoying it, and as long as the club is playing well and ownership group here and the front office is satisfied, I'm open for discussion," he said. "But I'm not looking ahead, no. I'm looking to this year ... and next year will take care of itself.

"It's been a long career, and a lot of fun. And a lot of work, too."

That work has included simply fielding enough healthy bodies for a team lately.

Alfonso Soriano, who received a $136 million contract before last season, fractured his right middle finger Sunday. Piniella said the left fielder will be out at least a week.

"His finger was really swollen today," Piniella said. "He'll have to tell us, but it's going to be a while."

Slugging, 100-RBI man Aramis Ramirez has had swelling and soreness in right throwing shoulder. Piniella said Ramirez may return Thursday.

"Ramirez is probably the least of our worries," Piniella said.

A bigger one is second baseman Mark DeRosa. He has been out since Feb. 23, when he was taken to a hospital by ambulance and then released following an irregular heartbeat he experienced during drills. Piniella estimated DeRosa may miss another 10 days while the Cubs work him back into baseball activities.

"Look, I thought this was going to be an easy spring training, I really did," Piniella said, laughing. "I don't know, is there such a thing as an easy Cubs spring training?

"We've encountered some problems here early and we've just got to ride them out. Thank God that these things are happening now, rather than later on."

He said absences of Soriano and DeRosa, in particular, worry him because the Cubs lack depth.

At least he knows that much. Last year at this time, he knew little about his players or the organization after signing a three-year contract. All he knew was the team hadn't won a World Series since 1908 and hadn't appeared in one since 1945.

The only manager to lead to two teams to wire-to-wire, first-place seasons _ with the Reds in 1990 and Mariners in '01 _ was surprised then by how much he needed to turn around both performance and attitude. Chicago had endured third consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance before Piniella arrived.

Then _ presto! After a slow start _ and after a classic, dirt-kicking tantrum by Piniella against an umpire in early June _ the Cubs held off Milwaukee to win the NL Central. But Arizona swept Chicago out of the postseason in three games.

Sunday, Piniella felt compelled to apologize to the media after unexpectedly learning from reporters that Jason Marquis, a candidate for the starting rotation or the bullpen, suggested he fits best as a starter and threatened to play elsewhere.

"Well, if that's the case, he can go somewhere else. How's that?" Piniella said in response.

He then apologized for being surprised and not handling it better.

"It was a little different here in Chicago then when I expected. Very media intense," Piniella said Monday, adding the scrutiny is fair.

Then he flashed a wry, knowing smile, the result of 1,604 games as a manager and another 1,747 as a player.

"Yeah, they like their baseball there. They are passionate about it," he said.

03-04-2008, 01:49 PM
Well never say never, we do have one failed Cubs manager on board

03-04-2008, 02:59 PM
I guess he will have to retire with one ring as a manager, then.
At least he did it as a Red.

Chip R
03-04-2008, 04:16 PM
Managing the Cubs just might kill Lou.