Prior to a game one loss, Torre ‘satisfied’ with playoff berth

Miranda returns to the desert in style
When the Boss bought the Yanks

I’m really torn about Joe Torre’s Dodgers this year. On the one hand, I feel bad for Torre. The Steinbrenners didn’t handle his exit very well last year, and this playoff berth is a bid middle finger to the October-less Yankees. On the other, Torre didn’t impress me in his post-dismissal press conference, and I thought that the Yanks should have moved on after the failures of 2004 when Torre’s managerial flaws were laid out for all to see.

Yesterday, before the Dodgers lost to Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and the Phillies 3-2, Harvey Aarton chatted with the Dodgers’ skipper who feels satisfied with his team’s playoff appearance. Torre was careful to avoid the word vindicated no matter how often Aarton pressed him on it.

Larry Bowa, meanwhile, was the attack dog to Torre’s green tea persona. “I know Joe is never going to admit it, but I think it means a lot to him to be at this stage right now,” said Larry Bowa. “You keep reading that, well, he should have gone to the playoffs because of your payroll in New York. But they had the same payroll this year and they didn’t get in.”

I get where Bowa is coming from. I get where Torre is coming from. And I certainly get why the tabloids are proclaiming the playoffs Yankee fans’ worst nightmare. But it’s a false storyline. Through July 31, the Dodgers were a .500 team, hanging two back behind an underperforming Diamondbacks club. After Manny Ramirez arrived, the team went 30-24 and earned a playoff berth with a record five games worse than the Yankees’.

Maybe it was the presence of Joe Torre in LA. But the 84 wins are his team’s lowest full-season total since he skippered the 1992 Cardinals to an 83-win, third-place finish. I think, on the other hand, that Manny probably played a bigger role in the end that Torre did.

Now don’t get me wrong; I loved Joe Torre while he was in the Bronx. I wish him well during the playoffs, and I don’t begrudge him his playoff spot. I certainly don’t have nightmares about him. I do think it was time for him to leave New York. All good things must end, and Joe Torre’s tenure in the Bronx was no exception.

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Miranda returns to the desert in style
When the Boss bought the Yanks
  • Yankees=warriors

    The press should REALLY give the Torre story a rest. I was sorry to see him go as well, but the boat has sailed.
    The old Joe Torre crew should stop all the bitching too, they’re feeding the press exactly what they want, and consequently I’m losing my respect for the lot of them…

  • Bo

    Girardi looks like he’s not ready for prime time. Didn’t he learn how to communicate being Torre’s bench coach?

    Donnie Baseball will be managing this team soon.

    • Relaunch

      What? Regardless of his flaws this season, big parts of his team were injured or were awful when just being averaged would have done ok (IPSuk and Hughes).
      I am really getting sick of walking around the city and hearing and seeing all this stuff about Torre’s “magic”. His team had a record worse than the Marlins. A 4th place team in the AL east would have won that division. The team won the pathetic division because of Manny. Not because of Torre’s magic.

      • Chris

        I think the Orioles could have won that division.

        • A.D.

          Mathmatically the following teams who didn’t make the playoffs would have if in that division (and this isnt correcting for the weaker matchups against division foes)

          Yankees
          Blue Jays
          Twins
          Mets
          Marlins
          Houston
          St. Louis

    • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

      “Donnie Baseball will be managing this team soon.”

      i hope so
      makes me sick seeing him in that Dodgers uni

    • pounder

      Amen Bo, Clipboard Joe should be sent packing back to Northwestern,where his real talent lies.

      • steve (different one)

        seriously. we don’t need any more smart people with their fancy book-learning.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Joe Girardi = not Joe Sixpack

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    When I saw that he said that he was satisfied that struck me as classic Joe Torre.

    I know Joe wants to win, but more than win Joe likes to be THE GUY. Joe minus the Yankees would be a guy in the broadcast booth or out of baseball. I find it funny that an offer of more money than any manager other than himself ever made was an insult.

    I get that Hank is a boob and that Torre does not like him or how things were presented. Joe did not leave because the offer was an insult, he left because he knew that a team in the NL West that was ok had a easier path to the playoffs than the Yankees in the AL East. Joe is a slick guy with a grandpa charm to him.

    I feel we still hired the wrong guy to replace Joe, and I think by what I saw this year that Joe G as much as I do like him as well is no strategic mastermind. And he was billed as that strategic mastermind that was as good or better than anybody in baseball. Not so.

    • A.D.

      Also funny on the contract, given he took less to go to the Dodgers

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

        I agree, but I do not think it was really about the one year money.
        He wanted a few years of money because he knew he was not winning a WS.

        He also wanted an easier job and he got it.

    • steve (different one)

      and what would have happened when Mattingly’s wife went crazy and he had to leave the team?

      honest question.

    • Old Ranger

      Have to agree with most of your post, except the last part.
      Joe G had the players he was given (long contracts, unmovable) Phil/IPK hurt the team a bit, injuries hut the team a lot more.

      The players he had out on the field were not the type of players one can ask to bunt…per Johnny, “I don’t bunt”! What is that!?! Kiss my A–, when Joe tells you to bunt, you damn well bunt…you are replaceable! Hit and run, with whom? They all (mostly) get payed to hit the long ball, they don’t hit and run or bunt the guy over or hit sack flys. They all hit HRs, or nothing…this year, it was nothing.
      Basically, I don’t put the blame on Joe G., one has to have the right players to do the little things that help you win games. Steal bases, bunt, SF, take the extra base, score from 2nd on a single…the list goes on. 27/09.

      • ceciguante

        i’m pickin up what you’re layin down, old ranger.
        until this yanks team learns how to play the complete game, including small ball, they’re not going to have much chance to win. the prima donna culture these days, where everyone wants 20+ HR and agents put in calls to teams to question how their player is being used, is a bunch of greedy horseshit. and it doesn’t make for winning baseball.

        even though i have big doubts about his hitting, i can see that’s why you love gardner so much: he’s all speed, hustle and defense.

        • Old Ranger

          That’s two of us…I believe there are others out that have similar ideas. My biggest worry is, the first time he has a little slump, that’s it…good-by, see ya later! 27/09.

          • ceciguante

            well, he’s gonna have to put up SOME offense. if he slumps from april into may, it could well be back to AAA for him. let’s hope he puts together a decent OBP early and gets a shot.

            • Old Ranger

              Amen! 27/09.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

        I agree with a lot of what you are saying as far as Joe G not getting the right players to play real solid baseball. Hopefully this year we get a few of them. But really how many of those are left????

        Even with that said Joe G still made a TON of bonehead moves this year and realllllly looked tight a lot of the time. I like Joe G but I still think Donnie was a smoother move for the Yanks but maybe they did not want to saddle Donnie with a team they knew at best was going to get run out of the first round again.

  • A.D.

    I mean congrats to Torre & the Dodgers this year, but lets be honest Torre wasn’t some wizard this year, the Diamondbacks collapsed playing just under .500 ball the last 2 months, and the Dodgers went out and got Manny, who proceeded to put up a 1.200+ OPS as a Dodger, which is obscene.

    Is Torre a bad manager no, can he still win, yes. And frankly did he have anything to do with the D’backs poor play or his bad division, not really, he got the job done, it just wasn’t overly impressive

    Interestingly if the Sox had won the number of games the Diamondbacks did in the last 2 months (instead of the # they actually won) they would have been tied with the Yanks at the end of the season.

    Don’t get me wrong I like Torre, I liked him as our manager, and I like him now as the Dodgers manager, but I was ready to move on, sometimes you just need a change

    • Bo

      Was he a wizard getting to the playoffs with Small and Chacon pitching in the rotation? Was he a wizard getting to the playoffs after disastrous starts the past 3 yrs? Was he a wizard getting to the playoffs with Clippard, Rasner, DeSalvo, Wright all pitching big games?

      Don’t say anyone can do it. Because that isn’t true.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Totally. Torre hit some HUGE clutch homers those years. Joe’s a killer.

        • Bo

          You can’t have it both ways you know. You can’t crap on a manager and say the position means nothing and then bitch about the guy doing the job. if it was meaningless they wouldn’t have the managerial position would they?

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I didn’t say any of the things you seem to be responding to. I understand what you’re responding to, just want to note that I didn’t write those things.

            • A.D.

              No one said any of the things Bo seems to be responding to, at least not in this set of comments.

      • A.D.

        did I say anyone can do it?

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Different teams, different standards.

    If the Jets or the Nets make the playoffs I’m ecstatic.

    With the Devils and the Yankees, I kind of (wrongly) assume it will happen, so just making the playoffs isn’t good enough.

  • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

    It really is a non-story among the hardcore fans. The time was right for him to go, and most of us were okay with the era finally ending…

  • Steve S.

    I still cant agree that the Steinbrenners somehow treated him badly. They offered him a contract worth more on an annual basis than the one he has now. Im sorry he felt that he should have the job for as long as he wants but the bottom line is the Jr. Steinbrenners were now the ones to sign the checks for more $ than any other owner in the league. Im happy for Joe but enough already that this was somehow how an insult by the yankees. His time here was over and HE chose that path. He had every opportunity to come back but his pride wouldnt let him. i wont hold that against him but he has to let this animosity go. (Yankees should have invited him to the last day at the Stadium -video message or honor him).

    He might have made a difference this year but we just dont know. And I dont think its fair to look at his win total and say he wasnt that good. In the end he made the playoffs and he had the division locked up by the last week of the season. We make no apologies for the championship in 2000, so he owes none for the D-Backs complete fold.

    • steve (different one)

      lot of good points here.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        I still think you two “steves” are in cahoots somehow, trying to prop up each other’s arguments.

        I’m on to you two…

        • Steve S.

          Wait till you hear from Steve (the “other” one) and Steve Z, things wil get crazy.

    • ceciguante

      i’m uneasy judging the “insult” thing w/ torre. one man’s earnest incentivized contract offer is another man’s insult, and there’s a lot of behind the scenes politics involved with interpreting the contract offer joe turned down last october. i can see how some would say he deserved an incentivized deal given the teams recent playoff failures, and how others would call it betrayal of a guy who’d been managing the team for 12 years.

      would it be any different if arod or jeter had a bad walk year and then got offered an incentive laden multi-year deal?

      i do agree that the managerial position is really a bottom line, buck stops here role. if 84 wins is good enough, and you were lucky to be in a tin can division, then you were good enough. if 89 wins isn’t good enough, tough cookies, you lose. and i have no problem with torre saying he was satisfied — why shouldn’t he be? he could’ve ripped the yanks on this like hothead bowa, but he took the high road as usual. and let’s not forget, his team came up big in round 1 by sweeping the cubs. so who are the yanks’ recent october chokes the fault of now? congratulations, joe torre.

      • Steve S.

        Its very different from the players, and if you want to parallel it, if 2007 was a bad walk year then 2006 and 2005 had identical results so therefore he he had three consecutive bad years. And three consecutive bad years for a player WOULD result in a incentive laden deal.

        And even without the incentive Torre’ would have been earning more than anyone in the league and more than what he earned with the Dodgers. I just dont understand, in any job you are evaluated based on performance. And he got a commensurate offer for a 70 year old man near the end of his baseball career who had made some significant mistakes in the previous five seasons and was getting diminishing returns. And Torre is intentionally playing this passive aggressive thing because he knows the NY media loves to spark this stuff.

  • Brad Kraus

    I liked Joe too but it was clearly time to move on. Having said that I’m not completely sold on Girardi. While we can talk up and down about the quality of the division and the pre vs. post Manny impact the bottom line is that they are in the playoffs and we’re not. All the chatter aside you can’t simply deny the irony of the situation. You can’t ignore the “story”.

    Joe Torre is no baseball genius, if such a thing even exists, but he was able to work with what he was given. Girardi might be the next greatest thing in baseball managers some day but on paper he was given a lot to work with and he didn’t get it done. I know all about our injuries and all about the loss of run production but every team has it’s problems. It doesn’t matter what Joe Torre’s win loss record was. He managed within the rules as they exist today and made it work for his team. The Yankees had more then a few opportunities to close the gap and get back into the AL East race this year and Girardi wasn’t able to get his team over the hump.

    It says something about both Joe’s.

  • http://www.mvn.com/milb-yankees Ashish Skaria

    Nothing would make me happier than to see Torre’s Dodgers get bounced from the playoffs. Forget that grandpa. Let’s go Phillies!!!!

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

    “The Steinbrenners didn’t handle his exit very well last year, and this playoff berth is a big middle finger is a totally unrelated non-event to the October-less Yankees despite being illogically harped on by douchebag pseudojournalists ad nauseam.”

    Fixed.

    • jsbrendog

      you – 3424

      everyone else – 6

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Thank you. Genius is a pretty strong term, but if you insist on using it, I can handle it…

    • ceciguante

      true, but journalists are the paper-selling business.
      so writing this story is logical, considering that’s their goal.
      ya just gotta ignore em.

  • Bo

    I mean anyone replacing Torre here would have had a strike against him from Day 1 but I think we all expected much more from Girardi here.

    It’s not like he’s some naive rookie here. He was a bench coach under Torre. He worked for YES. He’s actually managed.

    And he was pretty awful all season long.

    And the whole Torre bullpen thing is way overblown. He seems to be doing a pretty good job with the Dodgers pen this yr and they don’t have a Mo out there.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Hold on. Hold on.

      Joe Torre is not doing a good job with the LAD bullpen. Proctor missed months, and their closer is off the NLCS roster because he was overworked during the regular season. Imagine if the Yanks had to leave Mo off of an ALCS roster. That would be disastrous.

      • Bo

        Because a reliever got hurt it’s the managers fault? So is Girardi blame for Jonathan A’s injury? Should he be blamed for Joba’s shoulder? Mo’s shoulder? Bruneys foot??

        And in 12 years how did Mo do for Torre while he managed?

        So Torre burnt out guys like Quantrill, Sturtze, Proctor. Where is the HOF in that group?

        How can you credit Girardi for the work of the Yankee pen and not give Torre credit for the Dodger pen this yr? Wade, Beimel,Kuo, Broxton, Saito have been pretty solid for him. Or has Torre “lucked out” again?

        • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

          So Torre burnt out guys like Quantrill, Sturtze, Proctor. Where is the HOF in that group?

          …And Tom Gordon, and needed handcuffs placed on him before he could use Joba Chamberlain (not to mention the fact that Ned Coletti almost did the same thing when Clayton Kershaw came up. Huh, I wonder why?).

          Also, what kind of cynical stance is that to take? Just because they are not HOF-caliber pitchers, their health and well-being should be thrown out the window? A reliever’s effectiveness depends on his stamina, you overwork them, they are less effective.

      • jsbrendog

        he continues to “torrie” relievers. now the japanese know it too. do i smell international incident?

        • Bo

          He managed the best reliever in the history of baseball who was never hurt on his watch in 12 years.

          The bullpen was one of the reasons why we won from 1996-2001.

          He didn’t have any talent out there the past few years and still got the team to 90+ wins and the playoffs every yr. Going into the pen in the 5th inning most nights because the SP was so bad.

          he had to piece of a bridge out of journeymen scrubs. And he did it.

          • A.D.

            Actually Mo did get hurt during that 12 year stint in 2002 & 2003, most of it was leg stuff, but there was a shoulder injury thrown in there.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Furthermore, Mo is a freak of nature and such a statistical outlier that he can’t be effectively used to bolster the argument of anything, anywhere. He’s an anomaly.

              Torre’s bullpens were wicked good at the beginning of his Yankee tenure, when he had Stanton, Nelson, Mendoza, Lloyd, Weathers and Wickman, all of them good pitchers.

              They blew chunks during the second half of his Yankee tenure, when he had Farnsworth, Hammond, Sturtze, Quantrill, Myers, and a bunch of other names that make me want to puke.

              Now, in LA, he has a bunch of good pitchers, and SURPRISE! he’s got a good bullpen.

              Sounds like, on the whole, Torre has little to no impact on the quality of his pen. (Just like the overwhelming majority of managers).

              What he DOES, have, however, is a litany of relief pitchers with burned out arms and injuries littering his wake. Turning the net-zero “Torre effect” on a bullpen into a net-negative.

              • Old Ranger

                Think that you and Jamal have about summed it up.
                One sometimes forget that Joe T. was given a very good team to begin with. He always put the same guys out there and let them win, not that any of that is bad…just pointing out the differences in each guys situation. One had the winning team, the other has to help put a winning team together. 27/09.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  This bullshit ex-post-fact romanticizing of the 1996-2000 Yankees as a bunch of mildly talented, underdog, non-star, average, scrappy, gritty, plucky, small-balling, overachievers has got to stop now, for the good of the organization.

                  We’re chasing ghosts that never existed in the first place, and establishing a mythical standard that is both unreachable in the future and wrongly critical of current events in the present.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  Ex post facto, sorry.

                • Old Ranger

                  Tommie…your not sorry at all, you said what you said.
                  My posting is factually correct, if you don’t agree…so be it. I don’t think I have ever posted anything about those teams be made up of great players, overachievers, etc., a few others have. I don’t believe in those terms well, some of them. I like to put it the only way that counts…hard, take no shit, whatever it takes, winning baseball.
                  Those teams were winners because of the mixture of good players in the right place at the right time…nothing more, they did their jobs. Did that help?27/09.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  No, no, Old Ranger, not you. I’m not saying you’ve been spouting that “there were no all-stars at every position” nonsense.

                  Referring to other posters/writers/fans.

                  You generally keep things in good perspective. Must be because you’re like 137 years old…

                • donttradecano

                  100% agree with that post tommy

                • Old Ranger

                  Tommie, only 70…hell, 137 is ok too. 27/09.

  • jsbrendog

    philies rays series, rays in 7. id be so happy

  • mike G.

    Joe Torre was a New Yorker and a champ. I love that guy for what he did for New York. Daddy gave Hank a baseball team and he didn’t have the nerve to back his own words (If A-rod opts out, he’s out) and doesn’t have the cojones to pull the trigger on good players (santana? anyone?).

    Girardi is a really smart guy. I even think he manages the bullpen better than Torre. But Girardi is an obvious phony. No one believes him when he opens his mouth. He is uptight as hell in the most pressure packed team in the sports universe, not a good combination. The payroll will keep the team over .500 but Girardi will rip the steering wheel off before he ever leads the Yankees to a World Series.

    Mark my words; Willie’s gonna make a comeback, and he will replace Girardi, and we will win it all!!!!!

  • Rob_in_CT

    I hope the Dodgers make it. I like Torre. I did think it was time for him to go, though. I don’t think he’s a good tactical manager, and I knew that Yankees teams in the coming years were going to continue to have flaws – requiring someone with more flexibility than Torre.

    The Dodgers won a whopping 84 games in the NL West. It really doesn’t reflect on the Yankees at all.

  • dkidd

    agree with mike g that in the crucible of new york yankees clubhouse, a calm demeanor is important, and girardi is constitutionally un-calm

    that being said, their are a number of pitchers now on the big league radar because girardi put some faith in them (veras, robertson, coke, giese, etc). no way those guys are given the chance to develop under torre

  • Bonos

    You missed the Phoenix of Farnsworth and the gem that is Bruney. There is your 8th inning guy.

  • Mike P

    You say you don’t begrudge Torre’s playoff place. But by dismissing his achievment with the Dodgers this year you may as well be. I find it puzzling that Yankee fans should be so bitter with the recent (relative) lack of success as to forget just how good a manager Torre is. He’s not perfect. His bullpen flaws are obvious to many. But it’s just not a coincidence that he’s had such great results. And this year’s team, despite a bit more adversity, was essentially last year’s team. Torre is class. He was always class for the Yanks. Memory Park no questions asked. Let’s appreciate that for a second. Please.

  • JeffG

    I think a lot of Yankee fans thought that our players needed a kick in the ass and Torre was at fault for letting the once super-star signees turn into dust. The truth is the team was picked by someone else. The personalities were picked by someone else. The guy played who he had. I feel that he helped them, but in the end he couldn’t fight what Cashman has created – a team of un-hungry, twilight superstars, that have no sense of team.
    When you have a thirty year old third baseman sign a ten year contract (good for now – built for disaster) and a SS that is slowing down, outfielders at the end of their contracts, and a first baseman (reformed juicer) who couldn’t move, no amount of ass kicking is`going to speed these guys up. Giardi will be in for the same fate – scapegoat for a bad front office.
    Signing 40 year old pitching as the saviors (Clemens Johnson), bringing in no relief for relief (too many to choose from), and replacing our championship rotation with guys like Brown, Vasquez, Igawa?
    I just wonder why Torre is the Devil and Cashman God. Our great farm system and player development? Right… he should have used the bullpen better.