If the last three days of secret meetings in Tampa were part of the movie, "The Godfather", Don Corleone would have kissed Joe Torre
on both cheeks, told him he was forever a part of the family, and then
given him an offer he couldn’t refuse. But, Don Corleone isn’t the boss
of the Yankees, and while these meetings were very much about family,
that family is not the Corleones. In the real life story, the name of
the family is Steinbrenner, and in their universe all good things must
come to an end. So, yesterday they gave Joe Torre an offer he had to
For the first time in 12 years, someone other than Torre will be
filling out the New York Yankees’ lineup card. The expectation is that
HGH (Hank, George, and Hal) will name Torre’s bench coach and Yankees’
legend Don Mattingly as the new manager of the New York Yankees. The announcement could come as early as tomorrow.
Why Joe Had To Say, "NO!"
What Joe Torre wanted was simple. He wanted at least two more
guaranteed years, so he could have the honor of managing the Yankees
when the new stadium opens in 2009. After 12 seasons at the helm for the Bombers, and with 12 postseason appearances, 6 World Series appearances, and
4 championship rings, he felt he had earned that right. But, the
Steinbrenners felt differently. The contract they offered to Torre was
a one-year make good deal for $5 million with incentives that would
make the deal worth $8 million should the Yankees reach the World
Series. Torre would have the option of coming back in 2009 if he
reached all the incentives.
In other words, Torre would have to take a pay cut (from $7.5
million) unless he succeeded in the postseason, and since there would
be no guarantee he would manage in 2009, he would have to manage in 2008
with the honorable title of "lame duck".
Yankees Offer To Motivate Joe — Cabbie’s Rant!
Yankees’ president Randy Levine said that all the members of the Yankees’ brass were "unanimous" in their desire to bring Joe Torre back as manager. Later, he called the Yankees’ offer to Torre "extremely fair". EXTREMELY FAIR! This is the type of statement a lawyer makes during a
divorce settlement, not in a unanimous decision to extend the tenure of
possibly the most successful manager in Yankees’ history.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Levine used a more expanded rationale for
the Yankees’ incentive laden one-year offer when he said, "We
thought that we need to go to a performance-based model, having nothing
to do with Joe Torre’s character, integrity, or ability. We just think
it’s important to motivate people." Telling Joe Torre he
has to reach the World Series in order to keep his job is not
motivation, it’s pure idiocy. Do they really think Joe would try less
hard if he had been guaranteed 2009? If they do, then that is a direct
knock on his character, integrity and ability.
Here’s an idea for Levine and the Steinbrenners- if the Yankees’ brass really believes they "need to go to a performance-based model",
how about trying that in the upcoming A-Rod negotiations. Offer him a
one-year extension to his already existing contract. Give him another
$27 million and then tell him they’ll extend him year-to-year, adding a
couple of million should the Yankees reach the World Series. Try it
with Posada too. "Hey Jorge, here’s a one-year deal for $12 million.
We’ll extend you again next year if we win it all." See how fast you
lose all your free agents. See how long it takes the Tampa Bay Devil
Rays to pass your *ss in the standings. See how long it takes before
the crosstown Mets and their new manager in 2009, Joe Torre, take over
the back pages (I hope you’re listening Omar Minaya).
It is a tad ironic that the latest trademark of Yankees’ success, Joe Torre, was let go on the same date, October 18th, that George Steinbrenner
brought the glory back to the Bronx 30 years ago (1977) – when the
Yankees won their first World Series in 15 years. The mantle has now
been passed and hopefully for Hank and Hal, as the new Steinbrenner era
gets under way sans George, it won’t be that long before the Yankees
win another one.
Carl the Cabbie