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Holding talks during Series may get Rays fined

Commissioner is said to be upset with a few teams for creating distractions with managerial hunts.

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 27, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The cost for landing Lou Piniella may get a little higher for the Devil Rays.

Major League Baseball officials said Saturday the Rays could be among teams fined by commissioner Bud Selig for creating a distraction during the World Series by negotiating with Piniella, though they did not violate rules.

Selig is said to be most upset with the Mets and is likely to fine them $50,000, though a report Saturday that he had done so was incorrect, according to MLB.

Conversations between agent Alan Nero and the Rays continued Saturday to complete negotiations and final details on the four-year, $13-million contract that includes a $3-million in victory-based incentives. An announcement is expected Monday afternoon.

Once the hiring is official, Piniella will assemble his coaching staff, with Lee Elia and Sam Perlozzo among the possibilities.

Elia, who will interview for the Seattle manager's job, told the Seattle Times that Piniella talked to him about joining the Rays.

"He said he'd get back to me," Elia said. "I think his intentions are for a bench coach or hitting coach. That's another thought process we have to entertain. But nothing is in concrete in either direction."

Elia, 65, has been a part-time coach and consultant for the Mariners the past two seasons. He was batting instructor and bench coach from 1993-97, then worked as a special-assignment scout for the Phillies in 1998-99 and bench coach in Toronto in 2000. Perlozzo has been with Baltimore.

ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that the Rays effectively kept the Mets out of the race by agreeing to give up Randy Winn as compensation to the Mariners.

According to Gammons: "Once the Mariners knew they could get the All-Star outfielder, they upped the ante in compensation talks with the Mets. Seattle held out for this creative deal: Piniella and Bret Boone for Robby Alomar, (top prospect) Jose Reyes and another player."

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