ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Lou Piniella was offered the job as manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday and now must decide if he wants to work at home or merely closer to it.
Details of the deal were not disclosed, but it was believed to be a three- or four-year offer with an average salary that is more than the $2.5 million Piniella was to earn as manager of the Seattle Mariners in 2003.
''We had a very good meeting,'' Piniella's agent, Alan Nero, told the New York Daily News, ''and I'd say a deal with the Devil Rays is about 95 percent done. Lou wants to think about it for a couple of days, talk it over with his family and take everything into consideration. Beyond that, all I can say is they've agreed to everything we've asked of them.''
Piniella lives in Tampa in the offseason and wants to work closer to his family. He is also being pursued by the New York Mets.
''The odds are that the Mets are more out of it than in it,'' an unidentified baseball official told The New York Times.
A ban on major announcements during the World Series forced the Devil Rays to cancel an afternoon news conference at Tropicana Field, where general manager Chuck LaMar planned to give an update on the club's pursuit of Piniella.
''The commissioner's office has informed the Devil Rays and other clubs that there will be no comments on any subject until the World Series is completed,'' the Devil Rays said in a statement.
In San Francisco, commissioner Bud Selig said he issued the directive.
''We have a memorandum that's four, five years old, maybe, longer, that says during the World Series, the focus is on the World Series,'' Selig said.
He said he spoke personally with the parties involved and told them ''in many cases, you spend your whole life trying to get to the World Series -- the focus has to be on the World Series.''
Selig said the ban was solely on public announcements, not on talks.
Piniella and Nero were presented with a formal contract proposal during a meeting with LaMar and Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli.
The Devil Rays received permission to negotiate with Piniella last week, and the manager also would like an opportunity to speak with the Mets, who fired Bobby Valentine this month. The Mets, however, have been unable to agree with Seattle on compensation.
Tampa Bay began talks with Piniella last weekend after agreeing to compensation the Mariners will receive if the Devil Rays can sign Piniella.
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