Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Good to Joe
2005-10-18 13:42
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"Joe and I had a great meeting yesterday," [Yankee owner, George] Steinbrenner said in a statement. "We both look forward to bringing a championship back to New York and our great fans."

Joe Torre spoke to the media earlier today and declared that he will return as the manager of the Yankees in 2006. Torre said that he had some doubts about what he wanted to do, but after talking it over with his family and then meeting with George Steinbrenner in Florida yesterday, he is looking forward to coming back. According to the Associated Press:

"I realize I still want to do this thing. I still want to manage," he said. "There's only one place to manage in my estimation. It's been the best time I've ever had, these 10 years."

..."I just wanted to pretty much clear the air on everything that was part of my unhappiness or anger or whatever you want to call it, frustration. I guess you can put all those things under the same heading," Torre said.

Torre wanted to make sure Steinbrenner wanted him back.

"I had to not only hear it, but hear the tone in which it was said," he said.

I love that last line. Say what you want about Torre as a tactician but I've never questioned his sincerity, or underestimated his ability to deal with both Steinbrenner and the New York media. I know I'll be happy having him around for another season. Now, let's see what George has in store for Cashman...or vice versa.

2005-10-18 14:13:45
1.   randym77
I'm glad Joe will be back. I'm glad he wants to be back, and the Boss apparently wants him to stay.

And now that Joe will be staying, Matsui should sign...

2005-10-18 14:24:14
2.   BklynBomber
Whew! Apparently he was really giving it some hard thought... glad he decided to stay.

Read/heard something about Matsui's agent saying the Yanks have not made any offers, and that he's looking for a 5 year deal ???

Also, anyone hear an update on Stick's status?

2005-10-18 14:25:49
3.   unpopster
My hope is that Torre made it very clear to George during last week's meeting: "George, I'll stay if, and ONLY if, you bring Cash back and let me, Brian and Stick make the offseason decision!"

I boy can dream, right?

2005-10-18 14:32:02
4.   Dimelo
I sincerely believe that there isn't anyone more qualified to lead the New York Yankees than Joe Torre.

I dread the day that he leaves, much like I dreaded the day Parcells left the Giants. For every Torre and Parcells, there's a Ray Handley waiting to take over. Though I now despise Parcells, I still enjoyed his time as Giants head coach.

I miss my Yankees and I can't wait till April. Does anyone know the 2006 schedule yet?

2005-10-18 14:38:03
5.   Shaun P
I'm glad he's back, and I really hope he gets a much better bullpen and bench this upcoming season.

And that he remembers the lessons he learned in the playoffs.

Wonder what NoMaas has to say? This wasn't quite in their offseason plans . . .

2005-10-18 14:39:50
6.   Kevin
Heredia was on the juice!

2005-10-18 14:42:38
7.   Sky1
Thank god that Joe is back. He is the best manager the Yanks have ever had. Four championships over ten years is not bad, average that in a hundred years then you would have had 40 championships. The way he worked around Steinbrenner was ingenius. I think Jeter said it the best, "everyone is ticklish; you just have to find the right spot.", and Torre definately found the right spot on George to create peaceful terms for the manager and owner.
2005-10-18 15:18:49
8.   Dimelo
F- NoMass and their offseason plans.
2005-10-18 15:27:02
9.   Todd
He's too good for Georgie. The let-down's gonna be ugly when he leaves.
2005-10-18 15:33:44
10.   uburoisc
Also glad to have Joe back; it is a sign that the Yanks will retool, not remodel. There are weaknesses that need to be fixed, but I think this team is fundementally sound. Also, does anyone know how much salary was dumped with Brown, Stanton, Karsay, Quantrill, and probably Bernie gone? Also, can't the FO void the Wright contract because of his injury this past season? Seems to me that a lot of $ just came available.
2005-10-18 15:35:45
11.   Murray
Should I be scared at how much worse Heredia would have been had he not been using PEDs? Eeek.

Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel are the greatest managers the Yankees have ever had.

It has never been clear to me that Cashman and Torre are absolute allies the way that Cox and Schuerholz are, or that Walt Jocketty and Tony LaRussa are.

2005-10-18 16:23:41
12.   Zack
I am totally mixes on Joe returning.
Most of me wanted him to bow out and save us the question, but since that didn't happen, well I like the guy and hes done a great job, so I am partially happy to have him back. But on the other hand, I am not sure I can take another season of his (lack of) game management and absolute refusal to utalize AAA for bullpen and bench help. This team is in desperate need of a serious look at what AAA can give them, and I don't see that happening. Oh well...

Maybe the reason Felix sucked so much was from the juice, took away all semblance of control...or ability...On the other hand, this one smacks of steriods for a speedy recovery, no?

2005-10-18 18:18:40
13.   Alex Belth
From 1973 through 1995 (23 years), Steinbrenner had 21 managers (including the repeats, of course). During that time, Billy Martin managed the most games for George with 941 (556-385, good for a .591 winning percentage). Buck Showalter came next and had the longest consecutive stretch of any manager under George with four full seasons or 592 games (313-268, a .539 winning percentage).

After ten years, Torre has been the most successful manager who has ever worked for Steinbrenner, with 1618 games (982-634, a .608 pecentage. That is some kind of accomplishment.

However, Torre still trails Joe McCarthy (1149-969, .623) and Casey Stengel (1460-867, .627) in Yankee history as the team's greatest manager. Both men are intersting to read up on and now that it's almost winter time, what better time is there?

Torre has been wonderful for the Yankees, the absolutely right compliment for Steinbrenner. But I doubt any historians would put him head to head vs. McCarthy or Casey.

2005-10-18 19:00:51
14.   Harley
Happy to have Joe back -- watch Pinella take a job in the booth and wait for the New York opening -- and less than happy to hear him still talking about Matsui playing center field as a viable option.

But this is what I'm most curious about (from the MSNBC article):

"Torre said that during Monday's meeting in Tampa, Fla., he and Steinbrenner discussed the belief that questions for the manager had been planted with reporters from the YES Network, which is partially owned by the team, and the often differing opinions coming from the club's New York and Florida offices."

Okay. Which reporters? What kind of questions?

2005-10-18 19:07:57
15.   Shaun P
On Heredia, I think it definitely smacks of using PEDs to come back from his injury issues. I wonder when he was tested? If it was pre-injury, that would suggest otherwise.

uburosic, I believe the guys at YanksBlog (link on the right) detailed the salary that comes off the books. Jay Jaffe over Futility Infielder then detailed how much the 11 guys we do have under contract will cost. No clue on what will happen with the payroll - it can't go higher, right?

Torre has been perfect, not just for Steinbrenner, but also for meshing the varied personalities together over the years. His real genius has been his extraordinary use of Mo in the postseason, and sometimes in the regular season too. But I don't think he'll ever be in the same class as McCarthy or Stengel. Its not an insult - few managers are. But he's definitely in the next tier.

2005-10-18 19:39:25
16.   uburoisc
Thanks, Shaun, both were just what I was looking for. Jay Jaffe points out very well the problems with the bloated payroll, and that 40% premium on every player over the 136 mil mark. Ouch! The revenue sharing really does force teams to seriously rethink their payroll, even the Yankees. I think George has had the numbers crunched, and it probably doesn't make economic sense to go too much over 200 mil., though I would say it would be a tighter ship at around 150 mil.
2005-10-18 20:28:09
17.   Rich
Too bad. I think it was time for a change.
2005-10-19 05:32:50
18.   Knuckles
Ray Handley- ugh. That brought back bad memories just reading that guy's name...

I'm glad Torre thought about it and is (to the public's current knowledge) coming back on somewhat of his own terms. Now if someone would just get him some No-Doze to keep him awake and force him to make some in-game moves during the regular season, I'll be happy.

Also, maybe on his bullpen card, each pitcher below Mo (and Gordon?) should have his name printed in successivley bigger font so Torre realizes they're actually there?

2005-10-19 07:12:08
19.   Felix Heredia
I never knowingly took steroids. Raffy told me it was flaxseed oil.
2005-10-19 08:07:38
20.   Dimelo
Does anyone know if the 2006 MLB schedule is out already?
2005-10-19 08:41:39
21.   Peter
Some teams have tentative 2006 schedules up on, but the Yanks haven't posted theirs yet. Opening Day appears to be set for April 3 in Oakland.
2005-10-19 08:47:44
22.   Jen
I do know that the interleague will be with the NL East next year. As of now, the Yanks are playing in Washington and Philly, and the Marlins and Atlanta are playing in NY.

Some people at have pieced together a partial schedule based on what other teams have released.

2005-10-19 09:36:10
23.   Dan M
At DC and Philly? Roadtrip!

Actually, I went to a game in RFK this summer, and I think the only reason I'd go back would be to see the Yanks.

2005-10-19 09:37:05
24.   Kered Retej
I'm generally happy to see Joe back. He's not the best manager, and some of his on-field strategies drive me nuts, but my feeling is that a replacement is probably more likely to be worse than better. His players seem to respect him, which I think is his greatest strength.

On a related note, does anyone else think it is bass-ackwards that Joe makes $6+ million a year and Cashman is only getting about $1 million? Cashman contributes at least as much to the success of the team as Joe, and I think he is actually much more instrumental to their success. Plus Joe gets his winters off, right? :)

Compare the Yanks to Oakland, where Billy Beane makes twice as much as his manager. Granted, managing in Oakland is a whole other ballgame, but in my mind, Cash is woefully underpaid for what he has to put up with.

2005-10-19 09:51:32
25.   murphy
23, i must agree. i did a baltimore/DC back-to-back game road trip this summer and there could be no clearer difference than that between Camden and RFK. i dont even know that would go to RFK if mattingly were to come off the bench to play first.
2005-10-19 11:01:22
26.   BklynBomber
One Joe stays, one Joe goes...

Marlins hire Girardi to replace McKeon

2005-10-19 11:35:55
27.   Jen
Cool. I'm happy for Girardi.
2005-10-19 11:42:53
28.   Shaun P
It will be very interesting to watch and see what Girardi does as a manager. Good for him.

It does make me wonder, though, why it took Willie Randolph so many years to get a manager's job, as the reason often given to him for not getting a job was a lack of "prior managing experience." IIRC, Girardi has no "prior managing experience" . . . I'm not saying anything, but stuff like that makes me wonder.

Of course, some of the things Randolph did this year - hitting Reyes leadoff and the designated second-base OBP sinkhole second, for example - seem to suggest he has a lot to learn.

2005-10-19 11:44:13
29.   Popcult
I also have nothing against Torre. However, I do have a problem with maintaining the status quo in the front office. Torre will be back, and it's just a matter of time before Cashman decides to return. With those two back, and the same guys in the Tampa office still hanging around, the organization is back where it started, i.e. the Yanks will be a hugely dysfunctional family that will keep trying to plug gaping holes with ill-advised contracts and trades for over-the-hill veterans. Like Zack said above, we need to start trusting the farm system more, and the only way that's going to happen is through some kind of major shakeup in the NY/Tampa offices.
2005-10-19 11:48:08
30.   BklynBomber
Yeah, good for Joe G. I was kinda surprised how quickly his stock shot up as managerial material, though — but conventional wisdom says catchers make solid skippers. I thought he was pretty good in the booth, too. Let him learn the ropes in Florida and maybe he'll be ready to come home when Torre calls it quits, who knows?
2005-10-19 11:58:13
31.   Ben
Anyone know who Torre will tap to be his bench coach? I love the guy, but please please, not Luis.
2005-10-19 12:01:50
32.   rbj
Maybe Paulie for bench?
2005-10-19 12:02:54
33.   BklynBomber
Ben, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mazzilli back in the fold and fill that position...
2005-10-19 12:25:05
34.   Jen
"Torre and Steinbrenner discussed adding Chuck Cottier and/or Frank Howard to the coaching staff. Cottier is one of two Yankees advance scouts and would replace Joe Girardi as bench coach if Girardi gets a managing job. "

2005-10-19 12:38:00
35.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I saw an AP article that says Torre is considering Donny Baseball for bench coach, but doesn't want to lose him as hitting coach. Torre says Mattingly would be an excellent manager.
2005-10-19 13:28:52
36.   Shaun P
Hondo back on the coaching staff? I think that would be very cool. I remember how he used to tower over everyone else on the field back in the early 90s. Still looked like he could hit moonshots, too.

I know this is a long shot - he probably wouldn't leave his current job - but Bob Geren did see most of his major-league action in pinstripes . . . given that Beane regards him so highly, I'd like to think we could safely assume he'd suggest the things we'd all like to see happen.

I bet Bklyn is right, though, and Mazzilli comes back. I don't know if that's good or not.

2005-10-19 14:05:30
37.   Alex Belth
Yesterday on his interview with Mike and the Mad Dog, Torre said that he'd consider bringing Maz back. Said that he already considers Mattingly somewhat of a bench coach but wasn't sure that he wanted to lose Mattingly's contribution as a hitting instructor.

Good for Joe Girardi. I'm glad he'll be in the NL so I can root for him with a clean conscience.

2005-10-19 14:17:31
38.   Marcus
Mazzone isn't coming to the Yankees:

I was somewhat wary of the prospect since he's still under contract, meaning signing him would likely involve giving up a prospect or two to the Braves.

2005-10-19 14:18:07
39.   BklynBomber
Back to the other piece of open pine for a moment, The Birds are now talking to Mazzone:

Last night on either SportsCenter or Inside Baseball, they reported that the Yanks are actually negotiating with Mazzone, but left it at that...

2005-10-19 14:33:04
40.   BklynBomber
# 38 — Thanks, Marcus. We had Mazzone on the mind...

What the hell. That rockin' back and forth would've have driven me nuts after a few weeks anyway... ;-)

As for some of our remaining options, I've been watching Rags out here with the Giants and not exactly bowled over with him. I'd give Guidry a shot before Righetti.

2005-10-19 14:47:25
41.   Shaun P
So long, Leo - I damn sure hope he doesn't go the Orioles. Wonder why the talks broke off?

Guidry is very interesting - I wonder if he would push for the kids, as he himself was made to wait. Also, according to, Gator's most similar to Andy Pettitte and Ed Lopat. How about that.

2005-10-19 15:40:10
42.   Dimelo
I might be one of the few who's OK with Mazzone not coming to NYC. I think the fans and the media would be expecting too much from him, like some sort of magician. If Wright still sucks, Pavano still sucks and Wang starts to suck then everyone will start to question this guru of pitching coaches.

I remember when Rick Peterson came to NY and people didn't understand why Tracschel, Glavine and Leiter didn't turn into Hudson, Mulder and Zito. Then word gets leaked out that he also recommended Kazmir get traded because his delivery would eventually lead to injury and he can fix Zambrano's mechanics in 15 minutes. Ask Met fans how they feel about Peterson, he'll forever be linked to Kazmir and Zambrano.

Good riddins Leo, go rock-a-bye-baby somewhere else. Don't believe the hype!!!!

2005-10-19 15:49:46
43.   Dimelo
Bring in Louisiana Lightning.
2005-10-19 17:12:06
44.   ChuckM
Actually, Mike Carminati over at Mike's Baseball Rants on this site did a little study awhile back on the conventional wisdom of hiring catchers as managers. The results weren't too promising. That doesn't mean the thinking isn't still prevalent, of course. It probably helped Girardi that the Fish wanted to hire someone who was as far removed from McKeon as possible as teams are wont to do when they fire a manager (see Larry Bowa/Charlie Manuel). So they get rid of the old-timer with the old school views that guys on the team were bitching about and bring in a catcher who recently retired from the game with a fresh outlook. Not knocking it, just my view of their thinking...
2005-10-19 18:15:52
45.   BklynBomber
ChuckM — You got me thinking about the catcher/manager thing. Found this piece (May 2005) that offers a range of pretty good takes:

Another tidbit (this from, May 2002):

// From 1871 to the present, there have been 628 major league managers, of which 102 have been catchers. That's roughly 16.6% of the total, even though the number of catchers represent only about 10% of the 15,000+ who have played in the majors... The W-L managerial records for ex-catchers is around .500, second place to former second basemen who have won 51% of their games. //

2005-10-19 18:43:35
46.   ChuckM
I just tracked down Mike's study and he came up w/some different results (although his was only thru 2003). Here's the link if u wanna take a peek. I'm sure it won't take too much arm-twsting to get him to try it again. LOL

2005-10-19 19:14:30
47.   BklynBomber
Thanks, Chuck — very interesting piece. At least for me, it sure blows a hole in that and other prevailing clichés, huh? Especially the 'given' that pitchers make bad managers. I'd have lost more than a few bar bets on those two alone...

This is why baseball rocks. You could watch thousands of games, a zillion innings — then see something you've never seen before. And everytime you think you know something about the game, it reminds you who is the grasshopper. ;-)

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