I missed this yesterday, but Buster Olney heard a rumor (Insider only, alas):
Lou Piniella has told others that one way or the other, 2010 will be his last season managing. Now, keep in mind that Piniella is at the end of what has been an enormously disappointing season for the Cubs; Piniella saying he doesn’t want to manage past 2010 to friends is a little like an exhausted parent saying he/she doesn’t want to have any more kids after putting a rowdy toddler to bed at 9 p.m. Consider the context.
Beyond the shouting match he had with Milton Bradley back in June, we haven’t really seen the Lou Piniella we’ve come to know and love this season. With the kind of year the Cubs have had, a fully-invested Piniella would have acted more like, well, Lou Piniella.
Olney’s note of context caution notwithstanding, I’m inclined to think that Piniella is done with managing, and all that is left is to determine whether the Cubs want him back for the final year of his contract or if, alternatively, they want to begin the Ryne Sandberg era in 2010 instead of 2011.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.