From DeLuca and Ginnetti in today’s Sun-Times:
The sides reached agreement Sunday night on a three-year deal worth between $10 million and $12 million, with a team option for a fourth year. Piniella, 63, signed off on the package early Monday from his home in Tampa, Fla. And sources stressed there are no out clauses that allow Piniella to return to the New York Yankees should manager Joe Torre exit during the length of the contract.
It’s too bad Steinbrenner and the Cub politbureau didn’t work out a possible manager trade deal should Torre leave the Yanks, but I’m happy to have Piniella. Of the names floated, not including CSTB’s mention of Whitey Herzog, Piniella was always one of the better choices and he’s a guy who hates losing, which in the Cubs culture of “the Wrigley experience,” is important as wanting to win. As for the 2007 season, the Sun-Times also reports:
With Piniella on board, Hendry will quickly try to furnish his superstar manager with a star-studded team. Sources said the Cubs have identified potential free agent Alfonso Soriano — whom they view as a center fielder and leadoff hitter — as their primary target in rebuilding a team for Piniella.
Contract talks between Soriano and the Washington Nationals have stalled, and the 30-year-old slugger with speed is expected to file for free agency next month. Soriano would replace Juan Pierre, another free-agent center fielder who is not expected to return to the Cubs.
Hendry also plans to turn his attention this week to signing third baseman Aramis Ramirez to an extension. Ramirez’s four-year contract signed on Opening Day 2005 allows him to file for free agency this offseason — and he would be the most attractive third baseman on the market. The Cubs have also put power-hitting left fielder Carlos Lee, who has expressed a strong desire to make Wrigley his home, and right-handed pitcher Jason Schmidt on their winter wish list of free agents.