The ‘Calm’ Before the ‘Storm’

The upcoming week could prove to be the week that the Faithful look back on for many years as a turning point for this organization….good or bad. Several sources are reporting that Lou Piniella will be named the Cubs new manager before the Fall Classic starts on Saturday in Detroit. With Piniella’s responsibilities with Fox ending with Magglio Ordonez walk-off home run on Saturday night all roads are pointing to Piniella being announced at some point in the coming week. Piniella has removed his name from all other possible openings and seems to be ready to take over at the helm of the Cubs.

Joe Girardi looks to be heading for the Nation’s Capital and without pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Kranitz resigned with the Marlins for 1-year worth a reported $110,000 and with that signing Girardi lost a valuable bargaining chip with the Cubs and multiple outlets have stated that Girardi with either sign with the Nationals or return to the broadcasting booth, an option that appears to be one for Piniella as well.

Here are the latest managerial rumblings and player rumors….

Lou Piniella….

ESPN and Peter Gammons reported on Saturday night that Piniella will be named manager of the Cubs before the start of the World Series.

According to a report from Chris De Luca on Sunday morning, the Cubs and Piniella are expected to start contract talks on Monday. According to De Luca, Piniella has stated he “is refreshed” and ready to manage again. Piniella also stated in that article that the Cubs are the only team he would consider managing in 2007.

Rick Telander mentioned several facts on Sunday morning that should be a concern for all of the Faithful. Like mentioned on this site last week, the Yankees will loom large on the Northside for years to come.

Rick Morrissey thinks hiring Piniella sends a message to the Cubs and the Faithful.

Some of the concern over Piniella being hired has been the length of the contract that the Cubs could offer the 63-year old. Bruce Miles brought up a good point, if the Cubs win, Hendry’s contract would be extended and there would not be a problem with Hendry offering a contract to the new manager longer than his own.

Piniella thinks the Cubs job is a “prestige job”.

Joe Girardi….

The Daily Southdown thinks that Joe Girardi will end up in the broadcasting booth next season. Girardi will be in the booth during the World Series for Fox. Dusty Baker and Joey Cora could be the Nationals choice over Girardi.

Could Girardi decide to take a year off from the dugout and decide to wait and see what happens with the Yankees and Joe Torre after next season? Torre’s contract expires and Girardi does have a history with that team. But if he had a problem with Jeffrey Loria, how would he handle the Boss on a daily basis?

2007 Payroll….

According to Barry Rozner, the Cubs’ payroll for 2007 will increase to $115 million dollars, up $20 million from 2006.

Rick Kranitz….

As mentioned Rick Kranitz will return to the Florida Marlins for the 2007 season according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Alex Rodriguez….

According to the Journal News A-Rod could land with the Cubs if they do in fact sign Piniella to run the show. The Journal News stated that Rodriguez could end up in blue pinstripes for Aramis Ramirez and minor league catcher, Jake Fox. The report also mentions that the Angels, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Tigers, Padres and Astros as being possible trade partners for the 2-time MVP. The report also states that A-Rod will not be with the Yankees once the season starts.

Newsday mentioned the same possibility with A-Rod to the Cubs but also stated the Cubs need more that Rodriguez to win and they do not have enough to trade for him.

Daisuke Matsuzaka….Barry Zito….Jason Schmidt….

Phil Rogers brought all 3 free-agent pitchers up in a article on Sunday morning. Rogers had good points on all, but Schmidt could be the best of the three with Matsuzaka being an unproven and very expensive option.

Juan Pierre….

According to the Daily Southdown, the White Sox are no longer appear to be that interested in Pierre.

Nomar Garciaparra….

According to the Daily News, Nomar will not be back with the Dodgers next season. Nomar has stated since the end of the season that he would like to stay in L.A. Nomar hit just .229 after the break and finished the season injured. Nomar played around 120 games for the Dodgers….Could he fit into the bench plans for the Cubs in 2007? Nomar can no longer play a full season but he could be a very good option at first base, third base and possibly shortstop on a part-time basis for an incentive-laden contract.

Aramis Ramirez….

With Piniella apparently set to be the new manager of the Cubs, how does this affect the future of Aramis Ramirez? Ramirez has drawn a lot of negative attention to himself over the past 3 1/2 years with his ability to not “give it his all” on a daily basis. With Dusty Baker and his excuse machine out of town, could Ramirez and his days in Chicago be numbered? The Boston Globe stated that a Ramirez sign and trade for Alex Rodriguez is “being considered” in Chicago.

That’s the latest from the Mill and I’m sticking to it….

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney