(Lou Piniella last week at the 22nd Annual Baseball Assistance Team Dinner in New York. Photo by Associated Press).
UPDATE 12:44 P.M.: Piniella confims his new positon and discusses his duties.
I heard rumblings of this earlier in the week, and my old colleague John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed it — Lou Piniella will be joining the World Series champion San Francisco Giants as a consultant.
No official announcement has been made, but Piniella apparently will be advising Giants’ general manager Brian Sabean on personnel matters. It’s a great job for him, especially since he can do it mostly from near his Tampa home. Piniella, you’ll recall, resigned his job as Cubs manager in August mainly to be with his ailing mother in Tampa.
I always thought Piniella would end up with precisely this job — but with the Yankees, as one of George Steinbrenner’s famed “baseball people.” (One of my all-time favorite quotes came from then-Yankee GM Bob Watson, who was once asked to identify The Boss’s baseball people. “Little people that run around in his head are his baseball people,” he replied. Watson didn’t last much longer as Yankee GM.
Piniella maintained a great relationship over the years with Steinbrenner, who also was based in Tampa, and I think he envisioned that when he was done managing, he would go to work for the Yankees under The Boss. But that dynamic apparently changed when Steinbrenner died last year I do know that Piniella has always been close with Sabean, who worked in player development with the Yankees while Lou was a player, manager and executive with New York in 1980s. (Buster Olney points out another link — Giants executive Dick Tidrow, a Yankee teammate of Piniella’s). It would have been nice to see him end his career working for the Mariners, where he had some of his greatest moments as a manager, but that’s not happening, at least not yet.
At any rate, it will be great to have Piniella back in the game. He’s 67, and says he’s done managing, but I still have my suspicion that once he gets rested and re-invigorated, he might have one more go in the dugout.