Lou Piniella today was appointed manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Piniella, former manager of the New York Yankees, accepted a three-year contract, reportedly for $350,000 a year. He replaces Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball Aug. 24.
“This is a good ballclub I’m coming to,” Piniella said at a news conference at Riverfront Stadium. “It’s not like I’m going into a rebuilding process. This is a ballclub that can win next year.”
Piniella, 46, was joined by his wife, Anita; a son, Derrick; Reds owner Marge Schott and general manager Bob Quinn.
The last hurdle for the hiring was cleared when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner released Piniella from a two-year, personal services contract that paid Piniella $400,000 for each of the two years.
The Dayton Daily News reported unidentified sources as saying the Reds assured Piniella that he can pick his own coaching staff. Tony Perez said Schott told him he still has a job with the Reds, and Piniella agreed that Perez will stay as batting coach and first base coach.
Piniella began his playing career with Baltimore, moved to Cleveland and then Kansas City before playing 11 years with the Yankees. He retired after the 1984 season.
The Tampa, Fla., native was named Yankees manager after the 1985 season, replacing Billy Martin.
In 1986, the Yankees finished second in the American League East under Piniella with a 90-72 record but fell to fourth in 1987 despite an 89-73 record. Martin came back for a fifth term at the start the 1988 season, with Piniella moving to the front office as general manager.
Martin lasted only until June 23, 1988, and Piniella came down from the office to manage again. After the Yankees finished fifth in 1988, Dallas Green became the manager. Green, who was fired before the season ended, withdrew a week ago as a candidate for the Reds’ job.