Chicago Cubs Manager Lou Piniella is unlikely to come back to manage the Cubs after this season, his last under contract. Though speculation about his successor has been limited to a stray comment about Bob Brenly here, and about the Cubs grooming AAA manager Ryne Sandberg there.
Surely the team will have learned its lesson with Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella that it doesn’t necessarily pay to go out and overpay for an aging, previously-successful manager. Right? Right?
Enter Joe Torre, who is also a free agent after this year.
“It’s going to be me and how I feel toward the end of the year,” Torre said. “Do I want to do this again? The thing I don’t want to do is just shut it down. I don’t think that would be fair to my wife. But it is going to have more to do with me than anything else.”
The one-year extension Torre discussed with general manager Ned Colletti last winter also would have included a front-office role for Torre starting in 2012.
The report also speculated that Torre could manage either the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets or Atlanta Braves next season, something Torre all but ruled out.
“I refuse to say absolutes, but I think it is very, very remote that it will ever happen,” Torre said. “I hate to say it would never happen because I don’t know what is going to happen. But I certainly don’t anticipate that at 70 years of age, I am going to be searching around for another place.” ESPN Los Angeles.
The Chicago Cubs are tossed out as a possible destination for Torre likely simply because they are a high profile team with an opening next year. That Torre says he’s unlikely to be looking for another job does not really end the discussion – Lou Piniella famously repeated that he was done managing before taking the Cubs job.
With apologies to the older among us, Torre’s age (like Piniella’s) is a concern. Although the manager doesn’t have to pinch run, some physicality in the form of the proverbial “fire in the belly” is nice. Further, an older guy is unlikely to provide much continuity.