Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Employed for Now – Joe Torre

It looks like Joe Torre is the Yankees manager --- for now.

Unless you have been under a rock, or just not aware, the Yankees are off to a 9-14 start and in last place in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox have taken 5 out of 6 games from the Yankees (and living in the Northeast, it means that world is off kilter in the Big Apple).

If you add the fact the Yankees have a $195 million payroll, All Stars and Future Hall-of-Famers up and down their lineup, one would expect the team to be better. Even with Alex Rodriguez’s hot start (they in fact would be even worse), the Yankees are in a big hole.

For a city and region that believes a World Series title is part of their divine right, the lackluster start is cause for concern & outright panic.

Here’s the problem: It’s obvious to me and everyone else who follows baseball – the Yankees have no pitching. From spring training on, it’s been the concern, and now on the first day of May, it’s a concern.

Pavano is out, as is Mussina. Chien-Ming Wang, a contender for the Cy Young award in 2006 came back this weekend, pitched a sub-par game and opened on a nail on this throwing hand.

Here are the stats of the starting pitching; it’s not pretty:

The Yankees have a 5.02 ERA, 27th among the 30 major league teams, ahead of only Florida (5.13), Texas (5.37) and Tampa Bay (6.01) - (ESPN)


But in the New York Media and amongst fans, Joe is getting the brunt of the criticism.

Why? Simply, New York City is a demanding place for anyone – especially, the man at the helm of the Yankees.

The poor Mets, even with their start and the classy Willie Randolph as manager, they are on the back page of the news.

For much of the baseball world, and edict from “the Boss”, George Steinbrenner was going to be placed sometime between the weekend and Monday about the fate of Joe Torre, and if he’d be the manager, or canned.

Monday he spoke.

"The season is still very young, but up to now the results are clearly not acceptable to me or to Yankee fans," … "However, Brian Cashman, our general manager, Joe Torre, our manager, and our players all believe that they will turn this around quickly.

"I believe in them. I am here to support them in any way to help them accomplish this turnaround. It is time to put excuses and talk away. It is time to see if people are ready to step up and accept their responsibilities. It is time for all of them to show me and the fans what they are made of.”

"Let's get going. Let's go out and win and bring a world championship back to New York. That's what I want."

To be quite honest, the team is in a funk and I’m sure they’ll come back and turn it around, as they have too much talent not to do so. However, the pitching is the big concern and they need to get that in order.

However, to blame Joe Torre for the madness is asinine. We have seen the success he’s had with the Yankees, and although they have not won the title in a number of years, he has taken them to nine consecutive AL East titles.

Joe does not play on the field, and he does not swing a bat. He’s made some questionable decisions this season, but does he deserve to get fired?

Even, if he was fired, who could possibly step in and do the job? Maybe Don Mattingly, who I like, but is he ready?

Joe Girardi? A great manager and motivator, but would he be right for this team?

Granted, Joe has had great talent with his Yankee teams, a lot of credit needs to be given to him for managing the various egos in the organization and getting them to play for a common cause – a championship.

For everyone who is a Yankee fan, let’s take a deep breath and calm down. Things may right itself, but it may be a battle for the team to return to supremacy this season. Keep in mind the Yankees were in the same predicament 2 years ago and came back and won the division, though it took Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon to contribute in a big way (though both pitchers are not longer with the team at all).

I say things will be fine for the next week or two.

However, history has shown that George Steinbrenner can be an impatient and unpredictable man.

It remains to be seen what the fallout may be if the Yankees continue to struggle.


The Lady said...

The media is now blaming Steinbrenner's spokesman, Howard Rubinstein, for starting the Torre being fired rumors. I think I agree. He was the one who said Steinbrenner wasn't pleased, and then started dropping hints about something bad happening.

I have a feeling that, if Torre is fired, the job would go to Third Base Coach Larry Bowa. His stlye is the complete opposite of Torre's and that's usually the way it goes when a manager or coach is fired: the polar opposite is hired.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Lady, I am glad you raised that point.

Funny, but it is almost like Steinbrenner is almost akin to Darth Vader now.

Why is Rubenstein his mouth-piece?

It's almost like everything is leaked from that organization daily, and someone must have the writers phone numbers on speed dial.

About Torre ever being canned, I don't know about Bowa ever becoming the manager, it seems to be a real bad fit for him, moreso than Girardi.

However, I am on the outside looking in...

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