Chicago Tribune baseball writer Dave van Dyck is reporting today that both Lou Piniella and Alex Rodriguez could end up in Chicago. But with different teams.
Van Dyck says the Cubs are very interested in Piniella (hardly news), who is battling former Marlins manager Joe Girardi for the team’s vacant manager opening.
He says the Yankees passed on Paniella, because the team didn’t want to give the impression that they were hiring him to appease A-Rod, who it has been reported doesn’t like current Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Meanwhile, even though the Yankees insist A-Rod will stay with the team, White Sox GM Kenny Williams reportedly has been jonesin’ to see A-Rod in Chicago for quite some time.
Williams still believes Rodriguez, only 31 years old, would be a hero in Chicago, and never has been afraid of criticism for making a big splash for a big name.
The White Sox would have much more than most teams to offer the Yankees—certainly more than the talent-starved Cubs—in return, including fellow third baseman Crede. Coincidence or not, Crede also is represented by Boras, not a friendly face among Sox executives.
But Boras could do both of his clients a favor getting Rodriguez to a less-pressurized situation in Chicago. Here Rodriguez could move back to shortstop and get away from a sour situation in New York, where he and Jeter are seen as opposite forces.
As for Crede, he could get a long-term contract with the Yankees, something the Sox may not be willing to do with Fields on the horizon. The Sox also might be willing to part with a Yankee trade necessity, a starting pitcher in Garcia.
With the Rangers still paying a huge chunk of Rodriguez’s salary, the Sox would be looking at a $66.6 million commitment for four years. Could they handle that? Yes, especially if they shuffle off Crede’s potential contract and Garcia’s $10 million for 2007.
Would A-Rod be a good fit in Chicago? He could go back to playing short stop, which would make him happy. He would have plenty of protection in a lineup that features Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome, and he would be playing in a city that isn’t quite as prone to booing as New York. So, yeah, he’d probably do just fine in Chicago.
Would the Yankees agree to move A-Rod for Crede and Garcia? That’s hard to say, but you’d have to think they’d be tempted. This could be a case of addition by subtraction, and getting a bonefide 3b and top of the line starting pitcher in return for a clubhouse cancer isn’t a bad swap.
In a recent column, SI writer Jon Heyman listed his top ten teams most likely to trade for A-Rod. He listed the White Sox ninth, saying that Rodridguez probably won’t end up there because he and manager Ozzie Guillen don’t get along. Guillen ripped A-Rod for playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The two have pretended to be on good terms since, but Heyman isn’t buying it.
Could A-Rod’s rocky relationship with Guillen keep him out of Chicago? Would it prevent him from waiving his no-trade clause?
Or will the greatest player of his generation move on to his fourth team at the age of 31?