Organizational meetings started yesterday in Arizona but still very little on the rumor front. The Cubs did hire former A's hitting coach Gerald Perry
to fill out the coaching staff. He use to work under Piniella in Seattle from 2000-2002. If you go read the press release linked above, you'll notice an unusual amount of stress put on OBP and walks for the teams that Perry was a coach. We can only hope it carries over to the Cubs.
- An expose on Lou Piniella in USA Today
confirms a bit of the Cubs game plan.
"Just get me two starting pitchers, two position players, and, I'm telling you, we'll win."
Piniella seems to indicate that Soriano, Zito and Schmidt are on the top of the Cubs wish list. There's also a mention that Hendry is pretty confident he'll bring back Ramirez, but not so much on Pierre. If Pierre does leave, Matthews Jr. could move to the top of the list. Don't expect any bullpen signings but the bench will get an overhaul with a stress on power bats. And if you read between the lines, you get the sense that Murton is going to get moved to the bench for a power upgrade. There are also mentions of Ted Lilly, Miguel Batista, Vicente Padilla and Jeff Weaver along with a $115 million payroll but they don't seem to be direct quotes from Lou himself.