11 Oct 2007
I have to admit, the title of this post is pure hyperbole. There is nothing fun about this right now. Nothing fun about not having baseball I care about to watch and nothing fun about seeing a very good man twist in the wind while a bombastic tyrant makes up his mind.
I don’t think that the lack of news from Yankeeland is a sign they are bringing Joe back. On many levels, I would like to think so, but I think it is more a function of trying to figure out what they are doing on a number of levels and that simply takes time.
If you are Yankees’ management right now you have to ask yourself two questions before you fire (techincally, not rehire since his contract is up) Joe Torre. 1- Is there someone as qualified to handle this job right now? 2- Will letting Torre go affect our ability to exercise our offseason plan?
I would say the answer to #1 is no right now. Don Mattingly is many things, but he is a total unknown as a manager and it certainly doesn’t sound like he wants the job. (Comparing taking over the Yankees right now to coaching UCLA when Wooden left is a good hint) Joe Girardi did some great things in Florida, but he also overused a young pitching staff. Is that the guy you want in charge right now? Tony LaRussa would last about five minutes in New York before he attacked a reporter with a bat. Who else is out there who can come into New York and manage this team as well as Joe did? The only guy I can think of is Bobby Valentine, he has handled New York before, but I don’t see that happening. The time to replace Joe was after last season when you could have turned to Lou Pinella, now you don’t have that option.
As for question 2, it appears that Joe’s departure would affect some players’ decisions. Mo, Pettitte and Posada have stated that they want him back. So have many of the players who are not free agents. Now, the question is will the players really feel that way if the money the Yankees throw at them is more than anyone else? I don’t know, but it has to enter the calculations.
And, that is probably the conversation the Yankees are having right now. I imagine Cashman is trying to convince George and whoever else wants to ditch Torre that a decision like that will guarantee that Posada and Rivera hit the free agent market instead of signing deals in the next few weeks.
The one player it won’t affect is A-Rod. Sadly, Alex seems destined to head down the path of ruin again. He has finally become accepted in this town and he has a chance to be mentioned in the same breath as the Yankee immortals. But, Boras is prattling on about his value being worth a billion to a regional sports network, etc.. I will outline my approach with A-Rod tomorrow, but this seems to be heading to Alex ending up in a baseball backwater, richer than Midas and stuck in last place (again).