Lou Piniella: What does it mean?

UPDATE:
It appears, according to Piniella’s comments and information gleaned from two sources, that the club only contacted the former M’s skipper to ask if he had any advice or recommendations for the managerial opening — not to try and convince him to take the job himself.
———————————————————————————————————————-
Because those at the top of the organization will never let go of 1995 and 2001, the brass of the Seattle Mariners apparently put on the full court press to bring back Lou Piniella as manager.

Of course they did.

I still hold “the smirk” against CB Bucknor

Sweet Lou will always hold a special place in our hearts. No one will doubt that. Getting the squad over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time. Playing his part in building that late-90’s to early-oughts teams that gave us hope every year. Heck, even the tirades summon fond memories.

But, let’s be honest here. What is a 70-year-old Piniella, happy in retirement, going to do for this team? How will he turn this roster — or one constructed similarly — into a winner? He’s not. We know that. He knows that. The problem is that the guys in suits don’t know that.

On the other hand: Is our initial eye-rolling reaction stopping us from seeing the bigger picture?

Have we just been handed a blurry blueprint that gives us an idea of what kind of off-season this team plans to have?

Obviously, Chuck Armstrong, Howard Lincoln and Jack Zduriencik didn’t ask Lou to come turn a bunch of unproven kids into winners. If, as Ken Rosenthal says, the M’s made a serious push to bring him back, there had to be conversations about what their plans were. And those plans had to involve bringing in established major league veterans. I just cannot see them pitching more of the same to a guy who wouldn’t accept what’s in place now.

They may not have got the manager they wanted, but this is probably just the beginning of things to come. Maybe it’ll be some big free agent splashes. Maybe they’ll ship a boatload of prospects out for more immediate hope. I don’t know, but we’ll probably start to get an idea of that not too long after the conclusion of the World Series.

We know that managers play very little role in win totals over the course of a long season. However, you could convince me that having an established and respected manager in place would help in attracting the talent you desire. These are people we’re talking about. Things other than money, location and tradition do matter. How much? I don’t know. Maybe not a lot. But anything the M’s can do to help persuade a guy to put on the compass rose, they probably figure can help.

While the M’s were slow to dabble in the market the last two years, having to settle for scraps after their primary targets signed elsewhere, this could be the first clue that they plan to go after their targets aggressively this winter. I don’t want to paint this picture as good or bad because, well, we don’t know who they covet. We don’t know how much payroll might go up or down. We don’t know anything, because the Mariners won’t tell us anything.

I think we have an idea now, though.

Good or bad, whatever their strategy may be, I take this Lou Piniella report as writing on the wall that Jack is going to head into the market guns a blazin’.

[poll id=”3″]

More from Prospect Insider

The following two tabs change content below.

Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

12 Comments

  1. Mr. Edman, I don’t believe you read what I posted.

    And it wasn’t me just throwing out a whimsical thought.

  2. I agree with Edman about wedge announcing with three days to go, I say it wAS CHIKENSHIT, but gtfhen again, what would one expect from such a dumb ass?

    M.M.

  3. I think this smells more like the old guard trying to do as little as possible. To play on fans heart strings to sell tickets when the team doesn’t get a damn solid player in free agency. Lincoln and Armstrong are pulling their strings and JackZ his trying to do what he can with these two stooges. I like Ellsbury and would liek him in the OF. I would preffer Choo however, with an Itoi signing in combination. I don’t see this as a good thing or the m’s being aggressive. It would have been a minimalist move.

  4. He’s 70 years old, for crying out loud!!! He’s enjoying retirement. Don’t read too much into it.

  5. I think they made the offer with the option for him to take over for Chuckie when he retires soon. Short term fix but then he’s involved with the next hire and we build from there.

  6. Why would Wedge say that he publically disagreed with the team’s position? Not a lot of math involved. He was content with moving at the current pace. Jack and the Front Office/Ownership Group are tired of accepting the excuse that they should stay the course…..one that isn’t working.

    In a nutshell, he didn’t like being told what to do. Right or wrong, he was content with losing, because he was happy with the excuse that “the kids needs time”. Everyone here, and evidently Jack want more commitment than “the same old, same old”.

    And, BTW, I’ll NEVER respect Wedge for announcing he’s leaving, with three days to go. He couldn’t wait for three days? It was grandstanding to get attention to his cause. And, I think it was lame, especially for the players on the roster. It sends a message that giving up is okay. And, maybe that in part, is a good enough reason for him to be gone.

  7. I respect where you’re coming from, but I don’t find it be a stretch at all. I mean, I guess it’s possible they went to him and pitched building around the “core” in place, but these people know Lou. He worked here before and fought with management about not bringing in those veteran pieces. So, I just think it’s completely reasonable to think that this is a sign they plan to try and make waves. Doesn’t mean it’ll work. Doesn’t mean what they consider a big splash is what we consider a big splash. But totally reasonable that they’re going to be aggressive.

  8. No, I don’t. I think the club feels that if they get a big-name manager, it will help them attract better talent. That doesn’t mean they will go after the right talent (see Hamilton last year), but perhaps they feel a Hamilton or Upton won’t reject them if they’ve got an established manager setting the tone for change.

    I think that’s the wrong way to go about this, but it’s at least better than freaking out and trading the farm for two players.

  9. Interpreting the teams interest in Sweet Lou as a sign the team is going all out to win next year is a bit of a stretch for me. If that was the case, why would Wedge say publicaly that he did not agree with the direction the team was moving? Had they told Wedge they were going to aggressively upgrade the roster this offseason he would not have made statements like he did. I realize Wedge very well could have been out the door and fired had he not “quit” but he seems to be a pretty straight shooter. I don’t think he would have gone out of his way to say it was not about the contract had the team gone to him with aggressive ideas to expand payroll and bring in more talent.

    Rather I think this team LOVES TO LIVE IN THE PAST, and any chance they have to relive those “glory days” will be taken. They love the tribune to 1995 and 2001 nights and all the promotions that come with them. They also hold onto players long past their prime or usefulness and overpay them to stick around so us fans can feel good that they are still on the team.

    I think Jack will make every effort to sign Ellsbury, but if it gets to Jayson Werth type years and dollars then they will go to plan B (or plan C and plan D like they did this year).

    Given the teams love to live in the past, it makes sense that they reached out to Lou, but I think now it’s business as usual. Some young and inexperienced manager will get hired and hopefully they will have an improved roster to work with.

  10. I have to agree that this is one more sign of an aggressive offseason for the M’s.

    Ken Rosenthal predicted this week that Ellsbury would sign with Seattle for north of $120 million. He’s not just taking a wild guess, there is buzz behind it. I won’t be surprised if Boras gets that deal done before the Winter Meetings the way he did with Werth and the Nationals.

  11. It didn’t hurt to ask. He answered, now take a different tack.

    Dave Martinez, the Rays bench coach since 2008 has had a great mentor, aged 49. Chip Hale is the bench coach of the A’s, age 48, started coaching under Bob Melvin in 2008. Jeff Banister, age 48, is the Pirates bench coach and has been with the Pirates for his whole career as player and coach. Each of these guys is familiar with what has gone into their current team’s success. Helping create a winner is a pretty good recommendation to me.

    Ryan Divish of The News Tribune on the report about the Mariner’s seeing if Lou Piniella would be interested in coming back to manage the Mariners: “It would make life much more enjoyable and my job more interesting. But it probably isn’t the best thing for the Mariners.” Ryan ain’t liein’

    Divish’s piece was based on a story by Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, which also includes his (Rosenthal’s) statement that: “The Mariners are considering a wide range of managerial candidates, sources say. The futures of the team’s top executives — not just general manager Jack Zduriencik but also club president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln — could hinge on the club’s performance in 2014.” I’m sure there will be plenty of Amens for that prayer.

    Former Seattle manager Eric Wedge and former Colorado manager Jim Tracy have been considered for the vacant bench and first base coach openings at the Rangers. Wedgie should find it easier to get a new job than Bavasi did and justly so.

  12. Do you equate this to panic time?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.