Is next season the end for Sweet Lou?

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Lou Piniella has led the Cubs to an oustanding 265-219 record (.584) and two NL Central titles over three
seasons as skipper. That said, they don’t have anything to show for
their regular season success, having been swept in the division series
by the Diamondbacks in 2007 and then by the Dodgers in 2008. After a disappointing 83-78 showing in 2009, the 66-year-old Piniella
enters the 2010 season with an uncertain future.

”Let’s just
wait and see,” Piniella said during a 1990 Reds team reunion in
Cincinnati on his way to the winter meetings this week in Indianapolis.
”Look, I wouldn’t manage this year if I didn’t have the
competitiveness and the desire to win. I look forward to this team
bouncing back from last year and playing really, really well and giving
ourselves a chance in postseason again.”

$4 million club option for 2010 was exercised way back during the 2008
season, but according to a team source, the Cubs have not talked about
his status for 2011 and beyond. With the ownership situation resolved,
you’d have to think the Ricketts family will be smart enough to keep Piniella around.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.