Oct
09

Name Torre’s replacement

By

Ben’s commentary on the end of an era in New York got me thinking a lot more about the manager issue. I understand a lot of people want to see Torre gone. They decry his bullpen usage — and we’ve been guilty of that on plenty of occasions — and think he has some nonchalant attitude towards managing the game. “Binary baseball fans” (we’ll get more into this term later in the off-season) think he doesn’t play the numbers well enough. I have one question, though: Who do you think should take his place?

  • Tony LaRussa? People will point to his personal pitching coach, Dave Duncan, and think it might be a good idea. However, as a commenter pointed out earlier today, how many pitchers came up through the St. Louis system during the LaRussa/Duncan tenure? Matt Morris. Oh, and Dan Haren, but all of his success came after he was traded. Duncan can fix veterans to a degree, but with the young arms in the system, I’m not sure I want Duncan around. As for LaRussa, I don’t really have an opinion on him, which puts me in the minority. Most people are against the idea. I’ll let you have it out in the comments.
  • Don Mattingly? Please, let me know what he has done that indicates he’d be a competent manager. What sticks out to me about Mattingly is his reaction to Steinbrenner’s ultimatum for Torre:

    “It’s obviously an uncomfortable situation for me. I don’t want to be caught in the middle of this. On the back end of that, Joe knows how I feel about him. He knows I would never do anything behind the scenes or anything else to backstab anybody. It’s not my character; it’s not part of me. I’m comfortable with that part of myself. Joe knows me, too, that I wouldn’t be doing that. My loyalty to him is as long as it has to be, really forever. He’s treated me great, he’s taught me tons.”

    1) No one ever accused Mattingly of working behind the scenes. These sound like the words of a guilty man — guilty of something, not necessarily of explicitly lobbying for Torre’s job — to me.

    2) If you hate Torre, do you take solace in Donnie saying “he’s taught me tons”?

    But overall, he hasn’t done a thing to prove he can manage in the bigs.

  • Joe Girardi? First off, he’d be managing a few guys he played with. I’m not sure how this has worked out in the past, but I’m not sure it’d be good for the Yanks. Second, I’ll name you two guys: Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez. Both pitched for Girardi, both haven’t been healthy since. The Johnson situation was the most egregious of the two, as we all know the rain delay story. If Girardi told Joba to go out there after sitting down for an hour, I might just storm the dugout.
  • Bobby V? I still don’t think he’d ever manage for George. But if he’d be up for it, it’s a consideration.
  • Tony Pena? I have nothing bad to say about the man. It’s tough to gauge what was his fault and what wasn’t with the Royals. He took a team that in 2002 hit .256/.323/.398 with a team ERA of 5.21, and turned them into a .274/.336/.427 team with a 5.06 ERA the next year. And then he lost Carlos Beltran to the Astros and Mike Sweeney to injuries, and the team collapsed again (their pitching remained horrible). Clearly, he was not in an ideal situation.

Who else? We’ll take any and all suggestions, and hopefully develop them into a good discussion. For the record, I’m all for giving Torre another contract. I don’t think anyone on this list could do a better job of managing this team.

Categories : Rants

33 Comments»

  1. brxbmrs says:

    Gotta be honest, I don’t really care who manages next year and although the Yanks print money, it always turns me off big time when guys like Mo and Jorge late in their careers decide to focus on the bucks.

    The Yanks future is not Jorge, Mo, Torre – its Joba, Hughes, Cano, IPK, and who knows who else.

    It would be great if the Yanks resign em all, it might be best if they let em all get overpaid by someone else.

    The big issue is preselling season tickets, which is why I find it plausible that the FO uses this first round loss to give Torre a mandatory retirement date – a 2 year deal (he gets to manage in the new stadium) and name Mattingly as his successor in 2010.

    As for what Mattingly’s credetials are, Torre had a losing record before he stepped into a great team in 96.

    Nothing wrong with giving Donnie the job, but probably in the Yanks and everyones best interest to rebuild this team around dome more youth the next year or two before turning it over to Mattingly.

    • Motown Yankee Fan says:

      I agree with brxbmrs entirely.

      Joe is the Jeter of managers–full of intangibles no one else can see. (well, not really that invisible, but handling the NY media and NYY egos without imploding are pretty huge).

      So line up Mattingly in a few years, when the veterans we all know and love have retired.

    • Tk_NYY says:

      Mo and Posada cannot be replaced. Mo is as dependable as the phases of the moon, and their are NO catchers available this off season. Not to mention Jorge is coming of a career year.

      Feel free to chime in with their replacements if you have ideas. (the tiger picked uo pudges option today, btw)

      They both come back, whatever the cost. End of story.

      • brxbmrs says:

        TK,

        It all depends on what your perspective is. Mo’s my favorite player of the last 30 years, and eventhough he was bailed out a bit last night by a great Damon catch, he was excellent in the ALDS.

        Here’s the rub – he’s 38 in November and there is no denying although he threw 71+ innings this year and K’d more than a batter an inning, he’s not quite what he was.

        If you give Mo a three year deal, you may be eating the last year (or more).

        As for Posada, he’s a horse but he’s 36 and not a great post season performer or defensive catcher in a short series.

        If Jorge and Mo get 45 mil each from some other team maybe its best to let them go. As for who closes, could be Joba, Veras, Sanchez catching, could be Molina or a trade for a younger guy.

        The plan may be to get younger and cheaper, develop some guys next year and then refresh the team with a free agent or two, like Texiera, Santana, who knows…

        The best part of this season for me was getting to see Joba and IPK, Duncan, Hughes – and also moving Sui out of the field and giving Melky the job. That’s where the next championships (hopefully) are coming from – younger players.

        The bottom line is what is the long term future of this team – if the Yanks feel that the $ they spend is irrelevant to retain everybody (which it probably is considering 4.3 mil tickets sold), then do it. But unless the Yanks make fundamental changes i.e. establishing a real ace pitcher, deep pen and getting rid of aging, poor D players like Sui, Abreu, Giambi and replacing them with guys that can play + D as well as get a couple of hits when it counts then Mo and Jorge will be in the middle of another first round exit – if we are lucky.

        Bottom line, we are going to have to move on eventually – if Mo doesn’t return, it gives an opportunity to someone else – same for Jorge – something in this team isn’t working as far as the post season goes – I think we need to not fear parting ways with guys who most likely only have a few good years left.

        • The Scout says:

          With older players — and many others — teams ALWAYS pay for an extra year or more at the end of the contract in which the player yields little return. Unfortunately, that’s what player leverage means. So if you want Mo back because you think he may have two good years left, plan to pay for three. Same for Jorge.

          • brxbmrs says:

            Scout,

            You hope that you only get stuck for one year – Bernie’s last 3 years of his 7 year deal he was in significant decline – and then the Yanks brought him back for another year and he still went away mad.

            Personally, I think when everyone has had some time to cool off Jorge and Mo are back – they are among my all time favorite players, but I don’t lose sight of the fact that life can and will go on w\o them.

            Lets face it, Shoppach (who I think came in the Crisp deal – Theo is a genius!) had a better series in that one game than Jorge did in 4 – I just think everyone needs to realize that if they go, it might be for the best.

            And again, it pisses me off that they forget the tens of millions they made with the Yanks – now it becomes about “respect” which is just another word for “I want as much as I can get”.

            I suffered through watching some talentless teams in the late 80′s and early 90′s – even if Jorge, Mo, A-Rod, Abreu are all gone and aren’t replaced – this Yanks team will still be better than the Wade Taylor and Dave Silvestri Yanks…and I’ll be watchin.

  2. Count Zero says:

    First off, I’ll say that I don’t think Torre’s a BAD manager, despite his bullpen misuse and “belly full of guts” rating system. However…if you want to talk about burning up arms for Girardi…he learned it from the master. ;-)

    Secondly, sometimes you need to make a change just to shake things up. This team clearly needs shaking up at this point. They could play lights out for all of 2008, go into the PS with a terrific rotation, and yet when they got there with 85% of this team still intact, the foremost thing on their minds would be another first round exit. That’s the background issue with this team at this point — they go into the PS afraid of losing, while opponents like the Tigers and Tribe come in looking to knock people off and win. Like it or not saber-cats — psychology is a factor in a short series. (IMO anyway.)

    Finally, it’s not just a manager issue. This team has fundamental decisions to make regarding 1B, DH, CF, RF, 3B and C. (We won’t discuss the pen.) Some of those decisions will have bearing on the others. There’s a good chance this roster might look completely different when pitchers & catchers report.

    Having said all that, I would vote for Bobby V. I would take Pena as a second choice, Girardi third. I say no to TLR or the Hitman. And I’m open to other suggestions.

  3. Adam says:

    I’ve been a fan of Girardi for a while as the next manager of the Yankees, but the more the Marlin’s pitching staff was troubled by injuries this year the more I worry about him. Is he the next Dusty Baker? Will he turn Joba and Hughes into Wood and Prior?

    Right now, I’d back Tony Pena. He seems to have the least negatives, and in baseball where the manager matters the least as compared to football or basketball, I think a lack of negatives is the way to go. Remember also that Joe Torre didn’t exactly have a lot of experience before taking over the Yanks. I’d like to see what Pena can do with a talented team.

  4. Ron says:

    1) Torre, 2) Mattingly, 3) Girardi. Bobby V, no way. TLR, no effing way!

    Offer Mo a 2 year deal with a token raise, if he declines, maybe Joba stays in the pen. Offer Jorge a 2 year deal @ 15 mil, with a club option for the 3rd year. If someone is stupid enough to offer him more, let him go and get a stop gap until we can develop one in the farm system. Offer Alex an extension that would bring his average pay up to $30 mil (might have to go to 32-33). If he opts out, let him go, move El Capitan to 3rd, and let the former attorney general play short.

    Cash certainly has his work cut out for him this off season.

    • Adam says:

      There really are no stop gap solutions at catcher that doesn’t greatly reduce the Yankees lineup. The other factor is that while Posada may not be a gold glover behind the plate, he is one of the best at calling a game. With so many young arms, you don’t want to go cheap with your field general.

      Moving Jeter to third would be a disaster. There is a reason that it was A-Rod who moved to third rather that Jeter despite A-Rod being a better shortstop and it had nothing to do with Jeter being there first. Jeter’s defensive deficiencies at short (slow first step and lack of range to his left) would be all the more apparent at third, while one of his strengths (going back for popups) would be lessened. That’s also besides the point that AG couldn’t even handle AAA pitching much less major league level.

  5. Lil Jimmy Norden says:

    After sleeping on it, I think I want Torre to return.

    2 yrs and an option for Mo sounds good, perhaps the same for Posada. Gotta keep A-Rod at all costs.

    Im not sure the team needs huge changes. We could use some bullpen reinforcements for sure. Beyond that, what else needs to be changed?

  6. Jamie CT says:

    There is WAY too much focus on whom the manager should be. The focus should be on the players that the GM is putting out on the field. We need someone with a BASEBALL background. Cashman was the ideal guy to deal with confrontation and be a middle man for George to stomp on instead of George going after Torre.

    George will be gone soon. We all know this. Having a guy as the GM who has no baseball experience and/or scouting experience is just retarded.

    No more veteran bullpen arms. Be done with them. Groom guys from the farm system into good bullpen arms.

    Name me a World Series winning team that DID NOT have at least 3 shut down arms in the pen?
    Including Joba in that discussion.. we have 2. The 3rd guy – Viz, Farns, whomever – is about as reliable as George’s health at this point.

    • Ben K. says:

      The 2001 Diamondbacks had no one in their bullpen. If I recall correctly, they had to use Randy Johnson in relief because the Yankees had psychologically damaged their closer in back-to-back games.

      • Jamie CT says:

        Ben, that specific situation is one that defies all logic. The 01 Diamondbacks had 2 first ballot hall of fame pitchers who were in their prime. Schilling threw a gem in the first game followed by Johnson throwing a complete game in the 2nd game.
        Brenly would have been better off throwing Swindell or Morgan (who were lights out that series) instead of Kim.

    • Caleb says:

      Furthermore, veteran bullpen arms, when accumulated smartly, can be a cheap way to get an edge. Look at the Cardinals bullpen of 2005. Otherwise, you can end up fishing in the minors for live arms, pulling up a T.J. Beam more often than a Chris Britton.

      P.S. Another counter example to support Ben: 2004 Boston Red Sox.

    • Rich says:

      “Name me a World Series winning team that DID NOT have at least 3 shut down arms in the pen?”

      That’s preposterous. Go all the way back to 2006, who were the Cards’ 3 shut down arms? Wainwright was good but they had no one else of great quality. Izzy? He was hurt.

  7. Count Zero says:

    Not that I put great stock in Pete Abraham, but he is saying there is no way Torre returns. Having been there in person, he probably saw things we didn’t…

    “Based on the grim look on Brian Cashman’s face and the way the players and staff lined up to hug him on the way out, Torre is done. It was like a wake in the clubhouse. I would expect him to hold a press conference in the next few days and say good-bye.”

    Assuming Torre is actually gone, I see little chance of Posada returning — he is going to demand 3x$15MM, and frankly, I think it would be a mistake to give it to him. No way he catches 100 games in 2010, which means he has to DH at least 40 (and hit like a DH) to make him worth that money. Call me skeptical…

    If King George has indeed recovered some degree of silent lucidity, Valentine would be exactly the kind of guy he would go after. Note that Japanese player evaluation would also be a factor in his favor.

  8. Mike R. says:

    Truth be told if we hired the next Joe Torre people would be upset. Think about who Torre was when he came to the Yankees. He failed with the Braves and he failed with the Cardinals. He had great success so he was a great hire. Had he fallen on his face nobody would remember his name.

  9. dan says:

    Are we to assume that the manager gets his choice of pitching coach, or will it be someone the upper management chooses (Guidry, Eiland, etc.)? I’d personally love to see either Girardi or Valentine. LaRussa is the opposite of what this team needs. He refuses to play young guys unless he literally has no one else, and he’s not exactly been the guy you want as the “face of the franchise.” One plus he’d bring is that maybe Giambi will start juicing again under his watch.

  10. Caleb says:

    The structure of the Yankees has transformed over the course of Torre’s tenure. From 1999-2005, he turned himself increasingly into a veterans-only manager. He is the most experienced and best manager in the game at working with a team of veteran superstars and their oversized egos. That is an important skill, but it would befit a very poor manager on most Major League teams. Injuries to his superstar outfield in 2006 forced Torre to learn how to deal with mixing the young and the old, and he responded acceptably.

    The sticking point for the Yankees is that their pitching is getting young faster than their lineup. Next year’s team will likely include 34 year-olds Jeter, Matsui, Abreu and Damon, 37 year-old Giambi, and possibly a 36 year-old Posada. We already know how good Torre is with these guys, but the sophomore pitching staff (Joba, IPK, Hughes) will require a very different managing skillset.

    LaRussa strikes me as a logical choice, like it or not, because of his experience in a fairly big market with veterans and stars. Steinbrenner will naturally be drawn to his fame; he and Piniella are the only other current managers who can be considered stars along with Torre. Adam Wainwright is a feather in Dave Duncan’s cap, and his switch from the pen mirrors the task ahead of Joba.

    And, um, LaRussa managed the unhittable 20 year-old Rick Ankiel in 2000, but we all know how that turned out.

  11. dan says:

    and for the record, Girardi did nothing that I can see to ruin the arm of either Sanchez of Johnson:

    Sanchez 2005: 136 IP
    2006: 200 IP

    While that is a 64 inning jump, from 2004-2005 he made a 61 inning jump.

    Johnson 2005: 152 IP
    2006: 157 IP

    5 inning jump. They both got hurt after he left, but Girardi didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with that.

    • Rich says:

      Don’t just go by the numbers, go by the actual events.

      Johnson had been having forearm irritation for a couple of starts. Then, during a Johnson start he had pitched a decent number of pitches when there was a long (1 1/2 hour) rain delay. Girardi sent Johnson back out after the delay and Johnson was never the same. He didn’t get hurt after Girardi left, he got hurt on Girardi’s watch.

  12. Rob says:

    What do people think of hiring Larry Bowa? I like Torre, but I think Big Stein is looking for a change of pace. I saw Torre yawning during the infamous “fly” inning in Cleveland. Bowa is a firey guy.

    • dan says:

      If anyone is promoted from the organization to manager, it’s mattingly. Bowa could be moved to bench coach (being a former manager, there to guide mattingly like zimmer did with torre), but he won’t be the next manager.

  13. Joseph M says:

    Someone in the Yankee organization has to make a decision on the merits of Girardi because he won’t be on the market long. If they want to move in that direction now is the time to do it.

    Bowa and Pena should also get some consideration, I might go with Pena out of this group but a case can be made for Bowa.

    If Tony LaRussa is interested I would give him serious consideration just to shake up the operation. I am not the biggest fan of LaRussa but LaRussa and a three year contract with this talent base presents intriguing possibilities.

    I would give no consideration to Mattingly, I’m not sure he would be anything more than a Joe Torre witout experience.

    I would give Bobby V no consideration, I always thought he was overrated and he is so high maintence.

    Finally, Joe Torre has to be fired. Torre’s contract was renewed after the greatest single postseason collapse in baseball history for three years the results show a steady decline in team output with each passing year.

    2003 made World Series (Lost)

    2004 made ALCS (lost)

    2005 made ALDS (lost in 5 games)

    2006 made ALDS (Division Champs lost series in 4 games)

    2007 made ALDS (Wild Card lost series in 4 games)

    If we produced a bar graph we would have a down staircase from 2003 to 2007.

    Joe Torre was the highest paid manager in baseball and the team did not produce the desired goal of eah season “win the World Series”. Joe’s contract is up for renewal and it’s time to evaluate the body of work that he was just paid for (21 mil over 3 years). The results of the last three years is disappointing to say the least and it is time to make a change.

  14. dan l says:

    Best man for the job is Trey Hillman! Former Yankee minor league coach and winning 3 championships as a minor league manager in the Yankee system. He also won a championship in Japan where he is well respected and still wanted. He having been away from the team for 5 years gives him a fresh perspective with Yankee experience.

  15. Tano says:

    Keep Torre. He is an outstanding manager.

    It does take a bit of thinking to evaluate managers. The overriding factor in the success or failure of a team is the players…..duh. The greatest manager conceivable will lead his team to a last place finish if he has last-place players.
    So looking at a mangers “winning percentage” is sheer nonsense. You would need to run the experiment twice. Let the manager manage for a year, then turn back the clock, and rerun the season with another manager, or an “average manager”.

    It is probably because of this fact – that properly evaluating a manager’s work is so hard, so hard to disentangle from the contributions of the players, that you get people trying to latch on to ridiculously simple metrics like the results of a 5 game series.

    You need to parse out the intangibles. Torre’s team was hit with a perfect storm of injuries to most of the pitching staff, parallel slumps by half the lineup, and just plain bad luck – leading to a 14.5 game hole. When almost all of the “experts” and even most die-hard fans gave up on the season, Torre led this team (yes, LED – the role of a leader) to the best record in baseball over the remaining four months, and to the playoffs.

    The players love him for a reason. He is their rock, who keeps them focused, and carves out the space in which they can work through their struggles and eventually excel.

    Qualities like that are infinitly more important than the silly little questions about whether he uses a particular relief pitcher too much, or too little. Thats what he has a pitching coach for. Why do all the mindless Torre haters not turn on Gator, or Stott, in years past?

    I was so happy that the irrational stupidity of the “boss” was on hold for these dozen years, I only hope now that they wheel him back to the nursing home and offer Joe a new contract.

  16. E-ROC says:

    Well, I wouldn’t be shocked if Torre returns or doesn’t. It’s toss, but the latter seems likely. With that said, I like Tony Pena and Joe Girardi. A darkhorse is probably Bobby Valentine. I’m a huge fan of Tony Pena. TJs of Marlins pitchers this year are starting scare me off of Joe Girardi, even though I still like him.

    Dave Eiland should be brought up as an advisor to Gator because he knows the Joba, Hughes, and IPK better than Gator. He was the one that got Hughes back on track.

  17. [...] Tuesday, I voiced my support for Joe Torre. My reasoning, like many others, is that there simply isn’t anyone else better suited to [...]

  18. Brooklyn Boy says:

    Lou Pinella – A rod would play for him –
    After the year with the Cubs The Yankees could buy ouhis Chicago Contract for what they offerred Joe 5 year deal – Joe Girardi comes back as bench coach for Lou – Tino Martinez in as hitting coach nah ..

    What about Willie Randolph coming back across the Tri borough and F Omar Miniya who took Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delagado from the Yankees – I say acquire Delagado and Beltran from the Mets and let Alex Rodriguez and Giambi go across the river.

    Who else Don Baylor Not
    Are the Angels Happy with Mike Soscia ( did I spell that right?) We’ll take him
    Him or Bill Russell both ex Dodger Coaches

    Davey Lopes- He has Billy Martin’s Passion
    Bob Bremley who beat the Yankees against the Diamond Back
    in 2001 which was the end of the Yankee Reign is doing color for the play offs

    Where is Buck Showalter??
    Shoot Tim McCarver knows everything why not him??

    Heck Let me do it – Just sign Johann Santana, Kenny Rogers, Shawn Chacon along with Wang and the rest of the Yankee Rookie staff That gives me Mike Mussina as my number 5 guy or 6 if Andy (he messed it all up for us) Petite stays. Otherwise Bartolo Colon is a free agent.

    George you make all those moves or at least some of them and if you keeps A Rod – I will manage the Yankees in my spare time a bring the World Championship back where it belongs.

    What’s wrong with America when the Red Sox finish in front of the Yankees ??

    Some one tell Brian (fricken) Cashman to stop getting out bid by Omar Miniya and Theo ( Greg fricken Brady) Epstien —

    yo – You want changes lets change the GM – what about that Randy Levine

  19. [...] Tuesday, I voiced my support for Joe Torre. My reasoning, like many others, is that there simply isn’t anyone else better suited to [...]

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