I know, I know, I must be crazy. The Yankees haven't been the same since 2004's collapse against the Sox, and it's time for a change in New York. Three straight 1st round exits is inexcusable, and Torre's gotta go. Anybody can do his job, right? Well...here's the thing. When all the smoke clears, does that really make sense?
The Yankee Brass (George & Co.) will be meeting next week in their Tampa bunker to discuss Torre's future, among many other things. Here's why Torre will be welcomed back with (semi)open arms.
1. Joe Torre doesn't pitch.
Let's be logical here. What is the number one reason the Yankees went home early again this year? If Chien Ming Wang runs out there in Game 1 and pitches a decent game, and does the same in Game 4 at home, we're very likely TD'ing about "Yankees v. Red Sox" right now. Instead, Wang crapped the bed and pitched like a #4 starter in Pittsburgh. Not taking anything from the Tribe, but that Game 1 was enormous considering Carmona's performance.
Wang has never been a dominant ace-type starter, and while I do believe he's a front end rotation kind of guy, he's simply not enough in October by himself.
George & Co. will have cooler heads by next week in Tampa and logic will prevail. The Yankees need pitching, not the blood of Joe Torre, to get back to the promised land.
2. Prominent players are ready to bolt.
It's bad enough that Derek Jeter has publicly voiced displeasure with Torre's potential ousting, but he's obviously not going anywhere. However, you also have free agents Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada railing against any non-Torre talk? Not good.
You can bet Yankee brass is keeping close watch on this situation. Anytime the manager being extended factors into contract negotations, you've got to consider your options extra carefully.
3. It hasn't happened yet.
In years past, George would have axed Torre during his tear-filled press conference, right at the damn podium. (By "years past", I mean 1985-ish). However, this is a kinder, gentler...more senile King George. His sons are in his ears. Cashman is building boatloads of credit by building a stocked farm system producing the likes of Cano, Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain. These execs are the people whose opinions will be weighed heavily. As stated above, contract negotiations may well hinge on the Torre decision, something Cashman has a vested interest in squashing ASAP.
With each passing day, heads get cooler and more reason will be used to make the decision looming over Torre's head.
4. Donnie ain't going nowhere either.
When you get down to it, this is the single biggest reason Joe's going to be extended. Don Mattingly is known to be the most likely heir apparant as Yankee Manager. What's the rush to axe Joe if his heir will be waiting patiently for his turn at the helm? Are the Yanks suddenly going to go undefeated when Joe goes? Will their starting pitching improve dramatically? Will the Sox wilt back into late-90s also rans? No, no and no. So when you weigh all of the risks you take by cutting Joe out against the upside of letting him stay another year or two, what the hell is the rush?
Here's what I see happening. The Yankee front office will weigh the pros and cons of letting Joe go. They'll also look at their October performance and come up with the biggest reasons why they hit a wall in week one. They'll see clearly that pitching is key (just like always), and they'll realize Mo is still a huge part of that success. They'll save big $$ with Mo if Torre returns and loyalty is restored. They'll also realize the two biggest evils offensively this October were Derek Jeter's non-clutch hitting with RISP (3 DPs), and A-Rod's classic inability and refusal to rise to the occasion when big pitches are being made.
I don't see Joe Torre anywhere in there.
Of course, I'd like to see him play hit and run more, and bunt guys over in a close game once a century or so. But I guess you can't have everything.