Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How should Joe go?

The question now is less "will the Yanks bring back Torre?" than "how will the Yanks handle Torre's departure?"

The answer should be: with class and dignity.

After all, those two words defined Torre's approach and demeanor throughout his tenure as Yankee manager. The Steinbrenner mistreatment of prior managers at the time of their dismissals (Berra, Howser, Martin, Martin, Martin) not only cemented Steinbrenner's reputation as an incorrigible hardcase and horrible boss, but dissuaded numerous top-line free agents from joining the Yanks from the late 80s through the '90s -- most famously, Greg Maddux who took 20% less to sign with the Braves in the 1992-93 offseason than the Yanks offered.

The Yanks are baseball's premier franchise. They may be cutting ties with their best manager in four decades. When and if they do, it should happen with the same level of class and dignity that Torre brought to the job. No proclamations in the press, no dumping the man through subordinates -- have Big Stein graciously deliver the news The Yanks should let Torre walk away, turn over the team immediately to (preferably) Mattingly (or Valentine or Girardi; LaRussa, Pena, Hillman and Bowa are all non-candidates) and let him serve as the man to take the team into its next cycle of success while tying the team back to its previous era of achievement. Make it all as seamless as possible to keep Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Pettitte and possibly Arod within the fold, provide stability to the kiddie corps (Joba, Kennedy, Hughes, Cabrera, Cano, possibly Clippard) and work as a unit in making the change.

That's the Yanks' task. We'll soon find out if they're up to it.

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