Under performing players with big contracts can give a manager headaches. The front office doesn’t want to pay them sit on the bench, but there are often players with smaller contacts outperforming them.
Some managers choose to stick with these highly paid players and sit the younger less expensive ones. This was often the case with former Chicago Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella.
“With Lou, coming in any way, certainly the last two and into last year, [salaries] played really heavily,” Gordon Wittenmyer, of the Chicago Sun-Times, said on the Mully and Hanley Show of playing time on the Cubs. “I think what’s going to happen this year, the only thing assured with those guys with those big contracts is that they make the team. I don’t think playing time, with the new guy, is going to hinge on those contracts.”
LISTEN: Gordon Wittenmyer On The Mully And Hanley Show
The new guy Wittenmyer refers to is the new Cubs’ manager Mike Quade. Quade took over for Piniella towards the end of last season. Quade clearly had a different mentality than Piniella did when it came to player salaries and playing time. Big contract players like Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Silva may have had an easier time getting on the field under Piniella than they will under Quade.
“If [Fukudone] has done anything, he’s proved that he’s more of a platoon player,” Wittenmyer said. “He’s more of a quick starter, and you have to rest him. He’s not guaranteed anything. And the way Silva finished last year, he’s certainly not guaranteed anything unless he has a good spring. And Quade has already said that. It’s not a completely different philosophy, but it’s definitely a shift with that guy at top.”