Lou Piniella announced he will retire at the end of the season, according to the Trib. Though the statement indicates this is all Lou, and that's he's trying to help the organization by rolling the news out early, I wouldn't be surprised if he was pressured to say something by the team's upper management. It helps them avoid what would have been a complex, messy but almost certain parting with Piniella at the end of the season, and it helps a longtime winning manager who probably has lost his touch save some face.
In another sense, this is a typical Cubs move: Keep someone on board, but effectively make him a lame duck (see Bradley, Milton and Zambrano, Carlos). Will Cubs players be terribly interested in whatever Lou has left to say the rest of the season, and will he be interested in saying much of anything with one foot out the door? If this was all by Lou's choice, it was kind of selfish wasn't it?
On the other hand, maybe the idea of sending a baseball great into retirement as a winner one last time will drive the Cubs to some second-half heroics. Banish the thought, and get ready for Ryno.
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