Oct 18, 2007

Torre's tenure is over

Wow. It happened so suddenly. More later...

So here's my take. For the Yanks front office, this was an attempt to have their cake and eat it too. They didn't want Joe to return but wanted to appease the fans and players, so they offered him a deal they knew he'd decline. It was a guaranteed deal for $5 million with an additional million for each round of the playoffs reached (for a potential total of $8 million). Reading over the Yankee blogosphere two camps have broken out: the Torre sympathizers and the Yankee front office sympathizers. The Torre people see the offer as a slap in the face (a salary reduction and only one year guaranteed) of the man that delievered the Yanks to 12 straight postseason appearances, 10 division titles, 6 pennants and 4 titles. The Yankee people understand the less-than-stellar offer and don't see it as an insult to Torre (he would still be the highest paid manager in baseball and could earn even more than he ever has, and frankly has disappointed with the highest payroll in baseball).

If I had to choose a side, it would be the Yankee side, and here's why:
1. Torre's base salary would remain the highest in MLB by a wide margin (40% more in fact than the number two managers: Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker ($3.5 million)).
2. When players have subpar years before hitting free agency, they generally take a pay cut - why should Torre remain immune to that after several underperforming years?
3. It's just time to move on. 12 years is a very long time in modern pro sports, and it's been studied and concluded that managers tend to do best in their first few years and when they're relatively young (Joe is long tenured and old).
4. Torre always had trouble managing a bullpen. He routinely brought Proctor and Vizcaino into blowouts - two pretty reliable late inning guys that always got burned out by season's end. I mean, the whole Joba Rules were developed for just this reason.
5. The same anxiety followed the firing of Buck Showalter and the hiring of Torre 12 years ago. That worked out pretty well. Just because something is different doesn't inherently mean it will be worse.

The major downside is that it may adversely affect the re-signings of Mo, Pettitte and Posada. Although if Joe Girardi is hired (my preference), his personal experience with each of those players could help bring them back to the Bronx. He caught Mo and Pettitte at the beginning of their careers and mentored Posada into the catcher he is today.

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