What they're saying about Lou Piniella's retirement…


Cubs manager Lou Piniella got the opportunity to explain his sudden retirement before Sunday’s game against the Braves.  It’s more about his sick mother than his frustration with the Cubs’ play, and many folks are sharing great ‘Sweet Lou’ stories this afternoon.

Here is a bit of Piniella’s statement, via Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune:

“When I previously announced my intentions to retire at the end of the
season, a primary reason for my decision was that it would allow me to
spend more valuable time with my family. That time has unfortunately
gotten here sooner than I could have ever expected.

I couldn’t be more appreciative of the Cubs
organization for providing me the opportunity to be their manager.  I
wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world and I consider
this the ultimate way to end my managerial career.”

And some reactions to Lou’s departure:

* Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a Mariners perspective: “Piniella is remembered by M’s fans for more than just the wins,” writes Johns.
“His emotional outbursts on the field were legendary, but even more
important was his presence and leadership for a franchise desperately in
need of both.”

* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com believes that the timing is right for a new manager in Chicago.  But he will remember Piniella with fond memories.  “Sweet Lou provided so many fun moments for fans across all the country,” writes Rosenthal, ”
entertaining us with his classic ejections and rants, not to mention
winning baseball.”

* Adam McCalvy of MLB.com passes along some kind words from Brewers manager Ken Macha.  The two were rivals in the AL West for a while.  “Lou and I talked quite a bit over the years that I managed,” Macha
said. “I said this when he announced his retirement, that I admire the
guys who have done this job for that long, [like] Bobby Cox and [Joe]
Torre. This is not an easy job.”

* Cubs starter Ryan Dempster told the Chicago Tribune that he is said to see Piniella go, but also that he understands the reasoning behind the sudden departure: “Dealing with family issues and
dealing with your mom are something none us ever want to go through,” Dempster
said. “I’m happy for him he gets to go be with her.
  Obviously, the season didn’t
go like we wanted it to but the most important thing is family and he gets to
be with his mom and be around her.”

Phil Nevin: managerial candidate for the Nats, Mariners, Marlins and Padres

Phil Nevin

Phil Nevin retired following the 2006 season so he was too early to join the trend of All-Star players who, rather than simply wait around for a big league managerial job to be handed to them, actually went and managed in the bus leagues for a while.

He started in independent ball, jumped to the Tigers’ Double-A team and then Triple-A team and then, for the past two seasons, managed the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club in Reno. In short, the man has paid his dues and has had good reviews from his players everywhere he’s been. So this is not too much of a surprise:


The Padres feel like the most natural fit given that Nevin’s best seasons came with the club and given that he makes his home just outside of San Diego. But all of those jobs are fairly desirable, either for personal reasons or because they’re fairly talented clubs who underachieved in significant fashion this year. Nowhere to go but up, right?

No hearing today: Chase Utley to be eligible once again

Chase Utley
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Chase Utley‘s suspension is quickly turning into a more theoretical than actual thing.

Following his Sunday suspension for sliding into Ruben Tejada and breaking Tejada’s leg, Utley appealed. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement players are eligible pending appeal, and because MLB, the union and Utley’s agent could not get together for a hearing yesterday he was eligible for last night’s game. Of course he didn’t play.

Now, Tim Brown of Yahoo hears from a source that there will be no hearing today either.

This is simultaneously interesting given how much of a to-do the whole matter has become and boring given how, in reality, Utley is a pretty unimportant piece of the Dodgers roster at this point and his presence or absence will, in all likelihood, not affect any game on a level even approaching the manner in which he affected Game 2.

Clayton Kershaw on short rest: an OK idea if Mattingly has a quick hook

Don Mattingly

Last night, as Brett Anderson was being tattooed by Mets batters, I wondered when we’d see Don Mattingly amble out of the dugout to take the ball from him. Turns out he didn’t. He let Anderson finish the third inning having given up six runs and turned it over to the pen for what was essentially a mop-up job.

Maybe that was defensible. Maybe Mattingly realized that, even though the Dodgers would end up scoring more than six runs on the night, the game was already out of hand. Sort of a gut thing, maybe. Let’s not dwell too much on that except to say that Mattingly’s hook was not terribly quick given that his pitcher was having issues.

His hook had better be quicker tonight.

Clayton Kershaw is going on short rest. Historically, pitchers haven’t done too well on short rest in the playoffs. But Kershaw, who pitched on short rest in both the 2013 and 2014 NLDS, has been generally OK. He has, at the very least, given the Dodgers a chance to win.

In Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against the Braves he allowed two runs — unearned — in six innings. He didn’t figure in the decision in that one — it was the infamous “Craig Kimbrel standing in the bullpen but not being used as the Braves’ season effectively ended in the eighth inning for some reason” game — but the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS.

Last year’s NLDS appearance against the Cards was less-than-stellar. On regular rest he was beat up badly in Game 1, allowing eight runs in six and two-thirds. Then, in Game 4, he came back on only three days’ rest. And, for a while, he pitched well, allowing zero runs through six innings on 94 pitches. Normally Kershaw can go longer than that, but on short rest? Seemed like a bad idea to send him out for the seventh. Mattingly sent him out for the seventh, however, and eight pitches and a Matt Adams home run later the Cards led 3-2 and the Dodgers’ season was over.

Don Mattingly doesn’t have a lot of options tonight and didn’t really have them even before burning Alex Wood last night. He has to use Kershaw and it’s the right decision to do so. Go with what brung ya and go with your best. But he needs to remember that his best on short rest isn’t the same as his best at other times. He should plan for, at the outside, six innings from Kershaw. Indeed, he should be ecstatic if he gets six. A reasonable plan would be for less and to have a reliever ready to go at basically any time in the game.

The Dodgers’ entire season is on the line tonight and Mattingly’s job may very well be on the line too. If he’s on his keister in the dugout watching Kershaw put two men on with nobody out in a close game, he may as well just tender his resignation right then and there.