The New York Yankees refused to let Lou Piniella become the Toronto manager Saturday, balking when the Blue Jays refused to trade ceratin players in exchange for the Yankees broadcaster.
"We requested certain players and we weren't able to get them," Yankees senior vice president Syd Thrift said, indicating that the deal was dead. "They viewed what we wanted as unreasonable and we viewed what we wanted as reasonable. That's why it didn't work. The players they offered us were not satisfactory."Piniella, fired as Yankees manager at the end of last season, is the top choice of Toronto general manager Pat Gillick. But Piniella is on the first year of a three-year, $1.2 million contract he signed last summer when he began his second term under Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
"I've talked with George the last couple of days," Piniella said Saturday. "He doesn't want me to leave the organization. He wants me to continue with my broadcasting and working with the hitters."
Piniella said he was interested in the Toronto job.
"I asked George for permission to talk to the Blue Jays and I wanted to be able to complete those talks," he said.
Piniella has been a broadcaster for the Yankees this season and has been coaching some of the players on their hitting.
Piniella will have an "increased role on a daily basis," Thrift said. "That doesn't mean he'll be in uniform. That's optional."
Steinbrenner, who in 1987 called Piniella "the worst judge of talent in the organization," has changed his view. "Lou Piniella is the best hitting coach in baseball today," he said. "Nobody is anxious to lose a guy like that. Lou has done a wonderful job in the broadcast booth but you must have noticed how (Don) Mattingly and (Jesse) Barfield and some of the others have been getting their hits . . . (with) Lou down on the field."
Gillick said he'd like to name a new manager by Monday. Jimy Williams was fired May 15 and Toronto is 7-4 under interim manager Cito Gaston.
Meantime, White Sox coach Nick Bevington and Toronto minor-league manager Bob Bailor - the other top candidates along with Gaston - also were in Toronto.