Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Torre Situation

I'll start at the end and work backward from there - bottom line, Joe Torre should return as Yankee manager should he want to come back.

Has he hasn't been perfect - which MLB manager has? I do think he mismanaged the pitching rotation down the stretch and into the playoffs. And I question some of his substitutions and non-substitutions. Maybe some managers would have handled things differently I don't know.

What I do know is that when you take into consideration the numbers that have been compiled over his tenure, that the players are fiercely loyal to him, his handling of the media, his ability to work with Yankee management and how he deals with The Boss - is there anyone out there that would be an upgrade?

My biggest knock on him has been the lack of intensity the team seems to display either at the outset of the playoffs (leading to quick exits) or during periods of the regular season. I am now of the mind that my anger has been misplaced. Torre is still the same game as he was during the 1996 to 2001 stretch (the Torre calm, treat players with respect, shield them from the nonsense of the media etc.). The difference is the players. He had guys like David Cone, Joe Girardi, Tino, and Paul O'Neil that would get the team fired up when the situation called for it. And while there are traces of those kinds of players emerging (Duncan and Joba for example), it is still not a strong enough clubhouse force like a Cone or O'Neil - not even close. And that should fall on the GM, maybe the captain, not just the manager.

It's the players stupid! They didn't step it up. It wasn't managers or coaches.

As far as possible replacements, the media has speculated on Ton La Russa (who would be a disaster), Don Mattingly (who is trying to distance himself from consideration), and Joe Girardi (I wouldn't mind him). I for one would like to see Tony Pena given a shot at a possible replacement if it really does happen.

Anyway, the reality of the situation is we won't know for sure what the deal is until next week. My feeling is he's not coming back - I think he has earned another season though.

Torre snapshot with the Yankees:
12 seasons - .604 winning pct
12 post-season appearances
10 Division Crowns
6 AL Penns
4 WS Championships


The Scooter said...

Looks like Torre will have a seat at the table in Tampa. If they were definitely jettisoning him, that would not be the case.

He will probably have to plead his case as to why he should remain the Yankee manager and he will MOST definitely have to take a pay cut.

So I guess the question is, how much is Joe willing to grovel and how much of a pay cut is he willing to take.

Mid said...

I think a pay cut would be fair.

I would love to be a fly on the wall for those meetings. . .

I'd be interested to hear Torre's take on what the team needs in terms of new player acquisition and how that compares to mgmts.

CrashDavis said...

Torre made $7M last year. They talking about $4M next year. I think that's $4M too much. He needs to go. Don't care if the players are loyal to him. You can't let the inmates run the asylum...and that's exactly what it is in NY.

The Scooter said...

Crash, tell me exactly who gives the Yankees a better chance to win next year than Torre....and don't give me that inmates/asylum cliche crap...I think Mariano, Posada, Jeter and Pettitte have earned the right to voice their opinion on who should manage the team.

Hey, if Pinella or Leyland were out there, I would say "great, go get em"....but Mattingly just isn't ready and while I think Girardi would be a better choice, he couldn't get along with the owner in Fla so I don't see Steinbrenner hiring a loose cannon.

If you tell me that they are going to bring in Bobby V (talk about a loose cannon), I'll listen...other than that, rehire Joe.

Mid said...

ESPN floating a rumor that Torre is considering taking the reins of St. Louis.

What about Joe Madden or any of the base coaches like Pena or Bowa?

The Scooter said...

If Mattingly gets the job, I'm sure Pena and Bowa stay, which works for me. Not too sure about Guidry though, now that Mazzone is out there...or maybe they go with Eiland who worked with all the kid pitchers down in the minors.

57 said...

Would be surprised if Torre is not back. What I am really looking forward to is George's spin on his 'Torre's gone' rant during the playoffs saying that Joe would be gone if they don't win.

Mid makes a point that a Yankee manager, albeit the bottom line is to win, has to handle A LOT more than just winning...and he does it pretty well if you ask me.

I am surprised that no-one has made mention of the fact that the Yankees have not won a World Series since Don Zimmer left... there MUST be something behind that.

Leo Mazzone has lost his luster.


I hope Lastings Milledge is out of NY. He needs to be in the American Leauge and I hope that we can use him in the Santana deal.


Castillo will be a BIG signing for the Mets. His numbers were great since coming over from the Twins, but his output was lost because Jose Reyes dissappeared in the second half of the year... kind of like David Wright did in 2006. Look for Reyes to have a much more consistent season. Wright needs to be the captain and show the leadership next year.


Buster Olney has reported that the Mitchell report will be released after the WS and the names of MLB players that are on this report will "shock us to the core". My take of the names on the report (assumption only):

1) Piazza
2) Puljos
3) Clemens
4) Sabathia
5) Glaus
6) Ryan Howard
7) Holiday
8) Morneau
9) Chipper Jones
10) LoDuca

Mid said...

If Joe G. is selected - what are the odds that Zimm becomes the bench coach again?

Mitchell Report - Clemens will be the big name.

CrashDavis said...

Scooter you are wrong on so many levels. The players should NEVER have a say in who their manager is, do you want MLB to be the NBA? It doesn't happen like that in baseball. The only thing Poasda, Jeter, and Rivera earned is an early tee time for bouncing out of the post-season. They wanted to keep their manager in place all they had to do is win. They had their chance, but they couldn't overcome his managerial mistakes.

As of right now I'd be willing to have anyone in there before Torre. Then next year I will reminisce about how great Torre was.

Mid said...

Chamberlain to be a starter for '08.

The Yanks situation reminds of the Giants 5 years ago. The players had a coach they loved (Jim Fassel), said they loved him, but failed to perform to expectations, and got Coughlin. Maybe this is the same thing with the Yanks.

Sox loose at home.

And Tom Brady is the @!#$% man.

The Scooter said...


Your Giants analogy doesn't hold water. They hadn't made the playoffs 12 years in a row under Fassel as the Yankees have with Torre. If Torre was given the quality starting pitching that a team needs to be successful in the Playoffs, they would not have been bounced the last few years in the first round. A manager's job is to navigate the team into the playoffs every year...we all know that once the playoffs start it's pretty much a crapshoot.

Now that the kid pitchers appear ready for the big leagues, it would be foolish to part with Torre's calming influence.

Let's face it, with all the Pavanos and Weavers and Kevin Browns that Joe has had to make do with, he hasn't exactly been working with a loaded deck (not to mention the Farnsworths, etc).

I say give him 2 years and lets see what he can do with a staff that gives the team a chance to win in October.

Anonymous said...

12 YEARS?? they went to the super bowl with Fassel plus a playoff collapse.

The Scooter said...

No no no you misinterpreted my 12 year comment (or I wasn't clear). My point was that the Yankees HAVE in fact made the playoffs 12 years in a row under Torre...and that is why the analogy doesn't fit.

old professor said...

Just when I thought the blog was about to close down, here we are talking about the fate of Joe Torre and the Yankees. Hot stove starting up before the world series.

First, 57, you may want to check the last blog - I commented on Scooter's comment of Zim and stated they had not been to the WS since he left. He was the most valuable bench coach the Yankees have ever had.

Regarding Torre going to St. Louis - Please!!! That team is a disaster right now. Joe will not go to a team that will finish in the mid to the back of the pack. He knows the last twelve years have carved a place in Cooperstown for him. He doesn't want to screw that up. (Analogy - Leo Mazzone was a great pitching coach when he had the studs in Atlanta. In Baltimore he is going nuts).

One thing in Torre's favor is it now appears that George is giving up control of the team to his two sons. Hal will handle the baseball end and Hank the business end. Hal has been a fan of Joe Torre for a long time.

And don't think Torre will take a three to four million dollar pay cut. For what - exiting out of the playoffs. The Phillies exit and they give the manager an extension. Dusty Baker can't win in San Franscisco or Chicago (don't even bring up the playoffs where they were eliminated - THEY WERE STILL ELIMINATED) and now he will be the savior in Cinncinati.

Don't be surprised if they bring Joe back for the same $$ he is making now.

Mid, Torre's take on this team can be summarized with - Giambi is a waste, Farnsworth is a primadonna, and there was no bridge to Rivera when Chamberlain wasn't available and Wang is not the ace everyone has painted him to be. He is good when he keeps the ball down. When he can't it is like batting practice.

I also believe the Yankee management went into this year knowing they were probably a year away from something special with the arms on the farm. Next year will see Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy in the rotation that leaves only two slots to fill with: Mussina, Igwa, Wang, Pettitte and Horn.

The person who may take the fall for this year is Guidry. The Yankees brought Eiland up at the end of the year because he worked with the young arms in the minor leagues. Does that mean Guidry doesn't know how to deal with rookies. He handled Eiland's promotion to the big club with class and kept quiet. In addition to Guidry staying silent, has anyone noticed that the coaching staff has been somewhat quiet as well regarding Joe's fate.

The Scooter said...


I may be wrong, but I think you have it backwards. Hank will be running the baseball operation while Hal will be in charge of the financial end (most notably the new stadium).

No way they offer to keep Joe AND continue to pay him 7 mil. If he comes back it will be at a reduced rate.

Guidry is all but gone.

I'm sure Joe has counseled his coaching staff to keep their mouths shut, knowing that if Mattingly gets the job, they have a good shot of being retained if they don't make too many waves.

The Scooter said...

WOW, BIG BIG news from the Star Ledger:

TAMPA, Fla. --Yankees bench coach Don Mattingly has told a member of the Steinbrenner family he does not feel ready for the manager's job and is uncomfortable with replacing Joe Torre, according to a friend.

Mid said...

I would say the longer we don't hear a word, the more that looks bad for Torre - means they are trying to find a replacement and are negotiating. - I'm partial to Girardi or Tony Pena

Can't believe the Rockies.

GMen have won 4 in a row.

old professor said...

Mattingly has been saying for sometime that he would be uncomfortable replacing Torre. I believe he likened it to replacing John Wooden at UCLA - "A no win situation."

If the Yankees replace Torre, Pena would work well with the younger players. When he was at KC, some of the veterans did not take well to him.

The Yankees just like playing the media and testing the water to see people's reaction to rumors. I guess if you throw enough names out there, someone will get a mostly positive spin.

57 said...

Smart move by Donnie Baseball. Who would EVER want the job of replacing Torre? Anything less than a WS Championship would be a disaster. Baseball wants to be the guy who replaced the guy who replaced Torre... smart move in my book.


I think most major leaguers can now figure out Wakefield's knuckler by the 4th inning.... time for him to go.


Start Trent Edwards... aka... the next Tom Brady


I hate the Rockies. Holliday never scored in San Diego and if Trevor Hoffman did not piss on himself, it would be the Phillies in the WS


Britney Spears is on fire in her new video


Counting the days until #57 is in NY!! You know who im talking about.. JS.


Who wants to punch Joe Buck in the mouth during pre game when he looks at the camera and smiles when McCarver is responding to his question?

I liked Joe Buck when he called Paul O'Neil Homeruns... "PAUL O'NEIL.. DEEP.... TIED", but his has faded and seems like a really cocky SOB.


old professor said...

Apparently, Mattingly has refuted the statements being attributed to an unnamed source. He has now indicated he will do whatever the organization deems necessary to be successful.

Regarding Trent Edwards - Two games does not make a Tom Brady. Still trying to figure out how Buffalo lost to Dallas after the defense created all of those turnovers.

Now for the broadcasters for this year's post-season. TBS was awful. Joe Buck is not the problem in the booth, it is Tim McCarver. The man believes that only he knows how to manage a game and is the most obnoxious broadcaster out there (and don't get me started on Susan Waldmann she doesn't know the difference between an line drive and a dribbler through the infield nor has she ever come up with an original thought of her own).

Mid said...

Is Man Ram a piece of work or what? Celebrates like he's Joe Carter in Game 7 when his team is down 7-3 and on the verge of elimination.

If Torre goes, it would make sense not to hire Mattingly under any circumstances. He's the same guy! If you want Torre gone then you want someone different. Joe G., Buck Show, or Tony Pena.

The Scooter said...

Mid, you DID NOT just call for Buck Showalter to manage the Yankees.

I agree that Mattingly is "Torre Light", but they will save themselves about $5 mil a year if they hire him. Don't discount that.

I haven't even heard a whisper about Tony Pena being considered. By all accounts it's either Donnie Baseball or Girardi. I think the braintrust probably made up their minds on the manager during yesterday's meeting and they will spend today trying to work out a contract with whoever they chose.

Torre has been his usual classy self during this whole thing. No matter what you may think about his tactical strengths or weaknesses, he doesn't deserve to twist in the wind like this. If you are not bringing him back come out and say it.

Why are we talking about the announcers? Who cares?

The Scooter said...

Oh and if Manny ever pulls that crap against Joba, he'll get a fastball in the ear.

Mid said...

I'm not advocating for Buck, I was trying to give an example of someone different than Torre from a style standpoint.

old professor said...

If Cleveland makes it to the series to play Colorado, will anyone watch. This scenario has to be a nightmare for television executives hoping to make money on the broadcasts.

Last year was one of the least watched world series and this year has the possibility of being watched even less.

Regarding the Yankees leaving Torre twisting in the wind, they did the samething the last time his contract was renewed.

While there seems to be agreement that if the Yankees don't bring back Torre it will be Mattingly or Girardi. Another name that sees to be surfacing is Trey Hillman.

57 said...

I am a HUGE McCarver fan!! He used to broadcast Mets games in the 80s on WOR. Grew up watching Tim, Ralph Kiner, Rusty Staub and Steve Zabriski... there was no better television tandem. Scooter was great but Bill White was AWFUL!!!

Listen to Bill White's color commentary after Kirk Gibson hits his famed HR in the WS off of Dennis Eckersley. ONe of the GREATEST home runs of all time and White sounds like he just got out of bed.

The best play by play of all time in ANY sport is VIN SCULLY!!!!

"Little Roller Up Along First...."

old professor said...


With a broadcast crew like Kiner, Staub, Zabriski, and McCarver no wonder the Mets haven't gotten to the World Series in awhile. Why would God want to punish the rest of the sports world with that Broadcast crew. And regarding Gibson's homerun being the greatest in WS history - Nope not even close - the Babe calling his shot against the Cubs that was THE homerun.

By the way, I thought this blog was going away for awhile. There have been more hits on this comment section than any before.

By the way Mid,the Giants will probably finish the season at 10-6 and make it to the playoffs and falling in the second round.

The Scooter said...

Bill White's call on the Bucky "bleepin' Dent homerun wasn't exactly Red Barberish either.

57, I guess you don't go back far enough, but I remember watching Lyndsey Nelson, Kiner and Bob Murphy doung the Mets games. They would pass around a bottle of Rye during the telecasts.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if the G-men finish 14-2 - they are no where near the Pats or the Colts.

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