Lou Piniella doesn't think much of Steve Stone


Lou Piniella has apparently decided it’s a good idea to publicly address his critics.
Last week he voiced displeasure about Ken Rosenthal suggesting the Cubs should fire him, calling the FOXSports.com writer “my little buddy.” Today he sharpened the knives a bit, lashing out at White Sox announcer Steve Stone for criticizing moves the Cubs’ manager has made.
Some of the highlights:

We’ve got a lot of people here that haven’t managed and won any games in the big leagues, but they know everything. You know? They really do. I think they should try to put the uniform on and try this job and see how they like it when they get criticized unjustly. That’s all I’ve got to say about that issue. But you get tired of it. I’m trying to do the best job I possibly can and the only people I need to listen to are the people in my organization, that’s it.

I get tired of being nitpicked and tired of being criticized unjustly. Why don’t they talk to me first before they do it, OK, and get my viewpoints and my feelings and then make a determination. … I won over 1,800 games as a manager and I’m not a damn dummy, that I can tell you. There are only 13 other [managers] that have won more games than me. I guess I think I know what the hell I’m doing. …

And Steve Stone? He’s got enough problems doing what he does with the White Sox. What job has he had in baseball besides talking on television or radio? What has he done? Why isn’t he a farm director and bring some kids around? Why isn’t he a general manager, and put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn’t he been a field manager. There’s 30 teams out there that could use a guy’s expertise like that. I’m tired of some of these guys, I really am.

Piniella echoes a common refrain among those with prominent jobs who’re being criticized, which is that people aren’t qualified to criticize them unless they’ve done the same job. Which is, of course, bollocks. Whether or not Stone’s criticisms are worth listening to is certainly up for debate, but they’re legitimate for the same reason someone can criticize a chef without being an expert cook themselves or criticize a movie without having experience as a director.
Beyond that, Piniella repeatedly called out Stone for not speaking to him directly, saying stuff like “why don’t they talk to me first?” and “at least give me the courtesy of defending myself and giving my explanations on why things are done or not done” because “that’s only fair.” However, when asked if he made an effort to speak to Stone before going public with his criticisms, Piniella replied: “I don’t care about talking to him. I’m talking to you for them.”
Being criticized can be a very tough thing, but having to deal with it is part of why Piniella gets paid millions of dollars to do his job. The next time he has a bad meal or sees a terrible movie or hears an annoying song, I wonder if he’ll avoid voicing criticism because, after all, if he’s never done those jobs himself who is he to say anything? Stone has never managed in the big leagues, but he was a Cy Young-winning pitcher who spent 11 seasons in the majors and has been announcing games for three decades. If he’s not allowed to criticize, what chance do the rest of us have?
UPDATE: Here’s the video of Piniella going off on Stone.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.