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The Piniella era with Devil Rays to begin today

[an error occurred while processing this directive]By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 28, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Devil Rays are poised to introduce Lou Piniella as their next manager today.

Team officials are planning a late afternoon news conference, tentatively 5 p.m., at Tropicana Field.

"All systems appear to be a go," agent Alan Nero said Sunday before flying to Tampa.

Piniella and Nero will meet with team officials today to sign the four-year, $13-million contract that will make him the manager, and the face, of the franchise.

Piniella will earn approximately $2.5-million next season, the same as he would have in Seattle, then around $3-million in 2004, $3.5-million in 2005 and $4-million in 2006. There also are $3-million incentives bonuses based on victories.

As part of the deal, the Rays likely will send All-Star outfielder Randy Winn and a minor-league prospect to the Mariners as compensation. Losing Winn, their best all-around player, will leave a large hole in their lineup. The financial tradeoff will be about even, with Winn's salary likely to increase by about $2.5-million.

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