Early last November, Piniella was invited to Cincinnati to meet with new Reds owner Bob Castellini, who offered him a job as special adviser. That’s the official version, anyway. Truth is, Castellini wants Piniella to join the Reds so much, Lou could have been named manager if he had wanted to.
“I could have gone to a few places,” Piniella said. “I just wasn’t ready though. I need to get the cobwebs out, get hungry again. I won’t manage again just for the sake of managing, and I’ll tell you right now, the only teams interested in hiring me in the future will be those interested in winning.”
Piniella’s settlement with the Rays carries no provision that he can’t manage or do anything else this season; in fact, it would save the club a lot of money if Piniella did take another job, since the terms call for that club to pick up his salary obligation. He is guaranteed $2.2 million by the Rays for this summer, no matter what. But if he takes a job just to get back in the dugout, he’d need to make more than what the Rays are paying or, in essence, he would be working just to be working.
That won’t happen.
“It has to be the right situation,” he said. “I’ve had too much success to finish up the way I did, losing the way we did. Look, I have nothing against anybody [with the Devil Rays]. I like the new owner, and I appreciate that I got to be at home and manage here. I got to spend valuable time with my family, and that was important.
“I’m interested in winning. I will win again. It just won’t be this summer.”
And the way that Castellini seemed to salivate over Piniella, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was willing to pay the price to bring him back to Cincinnati.