Thursday, October 18, 2007

Say it Ain't So...So Long Joe [J. Mark English]

Its official. The long drawn out wait is over. The Yankees brass down in Tampa have finally put an end to the Joe Torre era.

All Joe did with the club was to take them to the playoffs for 12 straight years. He won four World Series, won the AL East division 10 teams, including 9 years in a row between 1997-2006. The Yankees have had a successful run over the last decade in a half that is hard to maintain in the modern day sports era. He may be impossible to replace, and is assured to have many job offers thrown his way starting tomorrow.
Here is more from the Associated Press:

Joe Torre is out as manager of the New York Yankees, rejecting a substantial pay cut after the team failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year.

Torre turned down a $5 million, one-year contract Thursday that still would have made him the highest paid manager in baseball.

Bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to replace Torre, who led the Yanks to 12 straight playoff appearances and won four World Series championships. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with Florida in 2006, is another top contender.
"It's a difficult day," general manager Brian Cashman said.

But it was a day Yankees' fans could see coming.

After losing the first two playoff games to Cleveland, owner George Steinbrenner said he didn't think Torre would be back if the Yankees didn't advance.

Torre, who took over the team to start the 1996 season, made his decision after traveling fom New York to the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. He was accompanied by Cashman and chief operating officer Lonn Trost.

"It is now time for the New York Yankees to move forward," Levine said.

Torre made $7.5 million this year, the final season of a $19.2 million, three-year contract. His new deal would have included substantial bonuses for each round of the playoffs the team reached.

"We felt we needed to go to a performance-based mode," Levine said. "We thought it was very fair. It clearly was at the top of the market, but we respect Joe's decision."

Comment -

Is it a mistake to let a man who has managed the Yankees to such great success go? Only time will tell. If the team falters next year, and fails to make the playoffs, then the only assumption that can be made is that they should have held on to Joe Torre.

Joe Torre has been a phenomenal regular season manager. Winning in the regular season is much more impressive then winning a playoff series. The playoffs are a crap-shoot, and the best team usually does not win the World Series.

If the Joe DiMaggio Yankees had to play in two playoff series as well as the World Series back in the 1940's and 1950s...could they have won as many World Series as they did then? Would DiMaggio have won 9 rings? Possibly it would have been less.

Considering this point, the Yankees probably should have kept Torre. They will be hard pressed to find a replacement that can manage all of the delicate egos and superstars that the Yankees have.

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