Kevin Millar: Lou Piniella was lacking
MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar, who was one of the Chicago Cubs' last cuts heading into the 2010 season, said Monday that there was something lacking in Lou Piniella's managing style last year.
And Millar believes it may have negatively impacted the team.
"I didn't get a chance to play with Lou, but I mean, there definitely was something missing," Millar said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "You have to have more organization and know who is going in the game that day.
"Listen, I played 12 years in the big leagues, and I sat there for nine innings in a spring training game and didn't know if I was playing or not playing. There's just common courtesy, to use an example personally. You know, 'Hey listen you're going in the fifth inning after Derrek Lee.' OK perfect. So you know to go get loose in the fourth or whatever it is. It's little things like that. The lineups were a big issue."
Efforts to reach Piniella, who currently is a special assistant to San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean, were unsuccessful.
The Cubs held a meeting last season to ask Piniella to post the lineups sooner.
"We like to know when we play," Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said Monday. "We asked him in Atlanta, 'Let us know when we play, and when we have a day off.' And he said, 'Yes,' but he never did it. That doesn't make everybody comfortable.
"[Mike Quade] is different. If you're off on Friday, he told me like two or three days before. So that makes me play more hard for him, because he has a lot of respect for me. And he knows what he wants, and he knows how to treat the players."
The Cubs finished 75-87 last season. Piniella retired from managing on Aug. 23 and was replaced by Quade.
"I'll tell you right now, Mike Quade is a baseball guy," Millar said. "The first thing speaking with [Cubs pitcher Ryan] Dempster [is] he loves this guy. It's a different feel.
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"Nothing against Lou Piniella, he managed a lot of years and you get to the point where you don't think about those things, but it was a little frustrating from the player's side -- period. There were no lineups, Lou didn't know who was playing and who was going in, and it gets old. So then what happens ... you get guys in bad moods, and then what happens is you're kind of like, 'Whatever.' That's the way the Cubs kind of played to an extent."
Piniella was 316-293 in nearly four seasons with the Cubs. He led the team to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in 100 years, and he's a three-time manager of the year who guided the 1990 Cincinnati Reds to a World Series titles.
"Like I said, I never played a 162-game season with Lou Piniella, so I can't comment [on how many other players shared the same sentiment]. I was in there trying to make the club," Millar said. "But there was something missing. Guys were talking about it and the whispers and that's the stuff that brings down a club.
"I mean you want to talk baseball, you want to talk how you're going to beat this guy today. You want to go out there and root each other on. You don't want to worry about why this isn't going on, what's he doing here, what's this going on and that's the simple thing of a lineup, get it up. It should be up there at 7:30 in the morning. Guys have to prepare. This is the major leagues, and that's what people forget. You have to prepare, there has to be a mindset -- period."
ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine contributed to this story.