Thursday, October 18, 2007

Torre Done

The Joe Torre era appears to be over. Torre turned down a one-year $5 million contract with incentives that could have upped its value to $8 million paying Torre a $1 million bonus for each playoff series won with an option for 2009 that would have vested if Torre won the World Series. The base salary was a pay cut from the 3 year / $19.2 million contract that just expired.

Buster Olney has an excellent write-up describing Torre's magic in the clubhouse but also talks about his weaknesses which have plagued him since 2002:

Joe Torre never spent hours poring over statistics or videotape like a lot of young managers do these days. He wasn't a workaholic type who obsessed about getting to work earlier than his peers. ...In an era when managers seem to put in more hours than first-year lawyers or hospital residents, Torre might've put in the fewest office hours of any manager in the game.
But Torre could delve deeper into the heart of his clubhouse in a 30-second conversation with a player than some managers can in a whole season. He could make the intense Paul O'Neill laugh dolefully at himself, or ask David Cone or Mike Mussina for a suggestion, or stop a slumping youngster at his door with a shout: Hey, kid, how you doing? When Scott Brosius went to him, late in the season in 1999, and told him that he needed to go see his dying father, Torre did not hem or haw or hesitate or fret about violating a century of old-school baseball protocol. Rather, he told Brosius to go home, to be with his dad.

It was a great run but from 2002-2007 Torre's teams have underachieved and more times than not Torre's decisions have been unimaginative or poor.

The Yankees did the right thing by offering Torre a respectable contract which he turned down.

It's time to turn the page.

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