Piniella stays away from trade rumors

Although multiple teams are looking at Cub left-hander Ted Lilly, manager Lou Piniella, for his part, tries to stay away from the rumor mill.

“I don’t get involved in them,” Piniella said. “I haven’t talked to Jim [Hendry] at all about trade talks. At all. Absolutely none. That’s his department. If he wants my opinion, he’ll ask me.”

Piniella has been involved in player decisions during his other managerial stops in Cincinnati, Seattle and Tampa.

“Look, I like it quiet anyway, so if stuff leaks out it didn’t come from me,” Piniella said. “There are always leaks, who knows where they come from, but if I don’t know anything about it, it can’t come from me.”

Piniella comes from the old Yankee background, where owner George Steinbrenner used to have meetings with his people and warn them if there were any leaks about trades that there would be wholesale firings in the front office. The only problem was Steinbrenner was the main source of those leaks throughout the major portion of his career as owner. Piniella, for his part, feels that deals will be made long after the July 31 none waiver trading deadline.

“The amazing thing about this trading deadline here is that I think you’ll see it extended all the way through August,” Piniella said. “I don’t place too much importance in it now. I’d like to keep our better players, obviously. Any manager would. Our guys are professional, they’ll go out there and play and do the best they can [regardless of trade rumors].”

Lilly, second-baseman Ryan Theriot and infielder-outfielder Xavier Nady have all heard the rumors and all are pretty savvy in keeping up on the latest trade talks circulating around baseball. Philadelphia, Colorado and Detroit have all had conversations about Theriot in recent weeks with the Cubs. Texas has had moderate interest in Nady.

Lilly’s stock continues to go up and down depending on his latest outing. After two bad starts prior to Friday’s outing against Philadelphia, some teams had begun to show less interest in Lilly. However, the Mets, Twins, Tigers and Dodgers all have conversed with the Cubs about Lilly’s availability in recent days.