SEATTLE -- Lou Piniella wouldn't mind getting back into managing in the major leagues.
But his most recent taste of three, largely pointless seasons trying to rebuild Tampa Bay has left the former Reds, Mariners and Devil Rays manager thirsting only for a contender.
"I would probably hate to end my career with three losing seasons like I did in Tampa Bay," Piniella said Saturday night inside Safeco Field.
He was back in the city in which he managed for 10 seasons as a surprise participant in a pregame ceremony the Mariners had for retired catcher Dan Wilson. Piniella received a standing ovation from fans still appreciative that his seasons in town included the ones that saved baseball in Seattle. The Mariners' first postseason in 1995 led to their new stadium in 1999.
After saying there are "no perfect scenarios" that would get him back in the game, Piniella said he wouldn't want to replace any manager who may be fired during this season. He prefers to wait until 2007 to begin the season with a team.
And not just any team.
"I'm not interested in managing a developing team," the 62-year-old Piniella said. "I'm not interested in managing a team that isn't interested in winning now ... instead of in the future.
"I still enjoy the winning and, obviously, the losses still hurt. If that weren't the case, obviously, I wouldn't want to be involved with baseball on the field."
He said he's noticed from afar the job Jim Leyland is doing with Detroit, which is 5-0. Leyland had been away from managing for six years.
"He's rejuvenated," Piniella said.
For now, Piniella said he is as far away from baseball as possible. He is at home in Tampa, Fla., "fishing, playing a little golf, spending time with my family."
He said he stays in touch with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, whose team has its spring training headquarters in Tampa. He called Steinbrenner, for whom Piniella played 11 seasons.
"We're good friends," Piniella said.
"I'm tan and rested," he said. "I haven't missed it. This year I never put on a uniform in spring training. First time."
In May, Piniella will begin a job as a weekly weekend game analyst for Fox Sports. He began broadcasting during last October's playoffs. Piniella's first game this season is May 20, White Sox versus Cubs.
He will work initially with Thom Brennaman. Piniella knows him and his father, broadcaster Marty, from their Cincinnati days.
Piniella pointed out he and Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima have the same agent, Chicago-based Alan Nero. Nero got Johjima his $16.5 million, three-year contract with Seattle to become the first major league catcher from Japan last winter.
"Tell him to get me the same contract, huh?" Piniella said, laughing.