Let the speculation begin.

Lou Piniella will retire at season’s end, meaning there will be no shortage of rumors swirling around Wrigley Field in regards to their new manager.

It won’t be LeBron James-caliber of rumors, but you’ll expect to hear the names Ryne Sandberg, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, Bob Brenly, and, for that matter, Phil Jackson, over the next three months.

Piniella seemed defeated long ago, even before the 2010 season began.

His Cubs’ career began with such promise, but, like all things Cubs-related, it will end on a sour note.

Sweet Lou said and did all the right things when he was hired by the Cubs to manage, and his first two seasons on the north side resulted in division championships.

It was a golden age (how sad is that?) for Chicago Cubs baseball for those first two seasons; the team was winning and the words “World Series” were a distinct possibility.

But, again, like all things Cub, his third installment was nothing short of a disaster.

The Cubs were overwhelming favorites to win the NL Central and possibly advance to the World Series in 2009, but Piniella’s squad stumbled out of the gate and was blitzed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central Division.

A year later, they’re still stumbling.

Not much has gone right in 2010.

The team is currently fourth in the NL Central standings, sitting a robust 10.5 games out of first place.

They’ve cashed in with players like Marlon Byrd and Carlos Silva, yet remain so far back, you wonder how bad it would look if those two players performed like, say, Marlon Byrds and Carlos Silvas typically perform.

Carlos Zambrano?


Aramis Ramirez?

What happened?

Derrek Lee?

Are you serious?

Sure, Piniella can’t be blamed for the entire 2010 mess, but he’ll be the first one to take a trip to the guillotine when game No. 162 is completed.

Piniella’s tenure ultimately will be deemed a failure, because it didn’t result in a World Series, pennant, or even a playoff victory.

People will criticize his lack of aggression over the last season and a half, but at his age, what do you expect him to do?

Yelling at 35-year-old men who have been employed by Major League ball clubs for 15+ seasons only gets you so far—eventually, the players are responsible for the performance on the field.

Lou Piniella cannot catch, pitch, hit, or throw.

He can only use a pencil to write nine names in a lineup card.

His nine names have failed more times than not this season, and that is why you’ll be seeing a new skipper in the third base dugout in 2011.

Piniella, too old and out-dated for today’s game, may have sunk his ship when he demoted one time ace, Carlos Zambrano, to the team’s bullpen.

You simply do not take your $91 million right-hander and his career 3.58 ERA and make him a set-up man—even if your $91 million right-hander and his career 3.58 ERA has a 10-cent head.

The club can now officially begin to (dare I say it?) wait ’til next year and hope that the three C’s (Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner) can usher the Cubs into a better future.

That is, assuming Colvin gets the proper amount of at-bats.

Lou Piniella never figured that out, either.

The Cubs have all the time in the world to figure out what to do next.

Seems like we’ve been saying that for a while now, though.


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