It’s Day 2 at the baseball winter meetings at the Swan and Dolphin Resort Hotel, where the Mariners continue to go about trying to secure players. I’m told the team has yet to meet with the agent for catcher Greg Zaun, though that should still happen later today. Also been hearing the Oakland A’s are really stepping it up in a bid to land DH Hideki Matsui.
The M’s had been linked to Matsui via rumors but, I’m told, Oakland wants to land this target because of prior failures so far this off-season. The A’s just got their posting fee refunded after failing to sign Japanese pitcher Hishashi Iwakuma, so they have some cash to throw around and have already promised Matsui a full-time DH job. In Seattle, so far, Matsui would be splitting time with Milton Bradley and the M’s just don’t have the same payroll flexibility to make a substantial offer the way the A’s can.
They had a special news conference here this morning to honor several longtime managers who have won the World Series and are now retiring. Lou Piniella, Joe Torre, Cito Gaston and Bobby Cox were honored. Cox had to leave the winter meetings this morning, so former Braves GM John Schuerholz stood in for him.
Piniella said several times during the news conference, broadcast live on MLB TV, that he was done managing and retired for good. At age 67, he loves “doing nothing” with his time, other than cycling, fishing and spending time with his family.
Later, when the official news conference was done, he reflected on his time in baseball and the various jobs he’s had.
“I didn’t take jobs like, a plum job to win a championship or anything,” he said. “I took jobs for the different challenges that they brought. I really did. I enjoyed challenges. When I went to Seattle and they hadn’t had a .500 season or won, and we had such success over there, I think I got a little smart. And I said ‘I can win anywhere.’ And I found out that wasn’t the case. The game of baseball will humilate you — and rightfully so — very, very quickly.”
On his possible managing future, he slammed the door shut, noting how after he retired as a player, at age 41, “not once did I ever want to go back up there and hit a baseball again. I’m talking about, in a game situation. That part of my life is done.
“Now that I’ve done this for the time I have, my time is gone and let these young kids come over and hopefully a lot of them will have long and successful careers like the gentlemen (Gaston and Torre) up there (on the podium).”