It’s hard to be shocked these days, but this came out of the blue.
Joe Torre obviously felt he was worth more than what the Yankees were offering him. A $5 million salary with $3 million in incentives is certainly not a disrespectful offer. But after making $7.5 million this season, Torre obviously felt he was worth more.
Both sides have a point. Torre took a team that had very little pitching and won 94 games. The Yankees were a mess 50 games into the season and he turned them around.
Say what you will about his in-game decisions, but the Yankees had nearly a quarter of their games started by the likes of Kei Igawa, Sean Henn, Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Darrell Rasner, Jeff Karstens, Carl Pavano and Chase Wright.
Torre’s bullpen was Mariano Rivera and hold on tight. It wasn’t his call to bring in unreliable Kyle Farnsworth and castoffs like Brian Bruney and Edwar Ramirez. His best lefty reliever was Ron Villone.
But if you’re the Steinbrenners, your business model is built on making the World Series every few years. For whatever reason, the Yankees have been a lesser team in October the last three years. Can a new manager change that? I guess we’ll find out.
That is if the Yankees make the playoffs. The Yankees are not going to be the same team without Torre’s leadership to smooth over the rough spots of a season. As Don Mattingly said last week, Torre has a way of identifying problems and solving them before they become major issues.
As of today, the odds of Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Rivera returning just got longer. Money talks but if at least one of those players walked, it would not be a surprise now. All three of those players were Torre diehards.
A lot of Yankee fans think October is automatic. Don’t be so sure. There are a lot of teams getting better in the American League. Without Joe Torre as manager, the Yankees just got worse.
Don’t believe me? Believe the Yankees. Torre was the man they wanted as manager. Whoever gets hired now is the second choice. Good start for that guy.
Here is the audio of the conference call: