By KIRBY ARNOLD
The Seattle Mariners dropped a contract offer in Lou Piniella’s hands, and now they’re waiting to see if it’s sufficient to retain him as their manager.
The Mariners’ top executives – CEO Howard Lincoln, CEO emeritus John Ellis, president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Pat Gillick – met with Piniella and his agent, Alan Nero, on Thursday near Piniella’s home in Tampa.
“During the course of the meeting we extended to Lou a new contract offer,” Lincoln said. “Lou is considering it and will get back to us.”
The Mariners didn’t disclose terms of the offer and phone calls to Piniella’s home went unanswered. Nero also didn’t return calls from The Herald.
Piniella is known to be seeking a salary that puts him among the top managers in the game. The Yankees’ Joe Torre makes about $3 million per year and the Giants’ Dusty Baker is next with a newly signed deal reportedly averaging $2 million per year over five years.
Piniella, who earned about $1.3 million last season, is seeking an average of about $2 million per year in his next contract, which he says likely will be his last in baseball. He turned 57 on Aug. 28 and recently completed his 38th season in pro baseball, the last 14 as a manager.
Piniella, who has managed the Mariners since 1993, has won two American League West Division championships and taken the team to the playoffs in three of the last five seasons. Last week they were eliminated by the New York Yankees in the sixth game of the American League Championship Series.
Piniella said last week that his primary goals the rest of his managing career are to become one of the highest-paid managers in the game, to win 1,500 games as a manager (he has won 1,110) and to win a World Series with an American League team (he won it with the Cincinnati Reds of the National League in 1990).
Piniella and his wife, Anita, dined with the four Mariners officials Wednesday night before getting down to serious business Thursday.
“Last night we had a very pleasant dinner and this morning we had excellent discussions on a wide number of issues,” Lincoln said. “The comprehensive discussions included the makeup of our current roster and our future plans.
“It was a very productive meeting.”
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