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The Chicago Cubs designated reliever Luis Vizcaino, earlier received from the Rockies for Jason Marquis, for assignment two weeks ago, and now have officially released him.

The Cubs will be on the hook for $4 million, less the league minimum if a team signs him, which seems likely.

The assumption when Vizcaino was given the boot in favor of keeping Rule V pick David Patton and optionless reliever Angel Guzman was that it was a difficult decision, but was necessary to create a spot for Jeff Samardzija, and not lose either of the two previously-mentioned arms.

Well apparently that assumption was wrong.

Bruce Levine discussed Luis Vizcaino’s release during his show on ESPN 1000 last Saturday morning. According to Levine, Vizcaino showed up late on Opening Day in Houston which did not sit well with Lou Piniella…and did it again for the second game of the year. Piniella was done with Vizcaino at that point. CCO.

Showing up late is not cool, but man, it doesn’t take much to get in Lou’s doghouse – and it’s a doghouse with a trapdoor in floor.

This one sounds a great deal like the doghouse Piniella put reliever Scott Eyre in last year, before forcing the reliever out in a dump-job to the Phillies (where Eyre went on to be a helpful member of the World Champion team).

In fact, it sounds a great deal like a lot of moves the Cubs have made during Piniella’s tenure, including the entire drive this offseason to “get more left-handed,” which resulted in Mark DeRosa’s departure – and a bit of a kerfuffle regarding Lou’s opinion of DeRosa. I also have my suspicions that reliever Chad Gaudin was a Lou casualty, but that’s a discussion for another time.

I am not saying there were not legitimate reasons for wanting Vizcaino dumped, Eyre forced out, or a more left-handed lineup, and I’m not saying a manager should not have input on player personnel decisions.

But it seems Piniella has a way of, well, getting his way in these moves that push people out. Maybe that’s fine, but it’s certainly becoming a noticeable trend.

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