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Archive for Sunday, October 13, 2002

Piniella requests release from Mariners

October 13, 2002

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— Lou Piniella has officially asked out of his contract with the Seattle Mariners.

In a meeting Friday in Tampa with three Seattle team officials, which included CEO Howard Lincoln, Piniella formally asked to be allowed to resign from the last year of his three-year, $6.8 million deal.

"I asked them if I could be allowed to get closer to home," he said Saturday from his home in Tampa. "We had an amicable meeting, as amicable as amicable can be. We talked for over an hour. Now they're going to make a decision."

Mariners officials, including team president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Pat Gillick, who accompanied Lincoln to Florida, were not available for comment.

However, last week a club official did note in an offhand comment, "Lou has done a lot for this organization and we wouldn't want an unhappy Lou."

Piniella, 59, wants to work closer to his home in Tampa where his family lives, drawing speculation that on top of his list would be the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the New York Mets.

Teams cannot talk to Piniella until he is released or prospective suitors have permission from the Mariners to talk to him. To do otherwise would bring about tampering charges.

Seattle's decision may involve a requirement of compensation, in money or players, from any club that would hire Piniella if he were let out of the last year of his contract, thought to be worth $2.5 million.

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