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Is Piniella On His Way Out?

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.