May 1, 2007

If Torre's Fired, Then What's Next?

After reading the veiled threat from George Steinbrenner concerning the current state of the Yankees on April 30, 2007, the one word that stands out in his press release is "quickly." We all know in our hearts that if the Yankees don't get out of the basement in the AL East by June, Joe Torre and others on the coaching staff are going to be tossed out the door with their baggage sailing in the air behind them, and quickly at that.

Who then, will be Joe Torre's successor should the Yankees continue to tank, and "The Boss" drops his axe on Torre and maybe even Cashman? Immediately, those who realize how popular Joe is in New York feel that one man who occupies the seat next to him on the bench could fill in as skipper. This person has often been publicly deemed as the heir apparent to the Torre throne prior to the current state of affairs which leaves the Bronx Bombers in turmoil. That man is, of course Don Mattingly.

He has the proper credentials to lead this team of All-Stars, egos, and high priced talent. He's as cool headed as Joe Torre is, making the transition to Yankee skipper relatively smooth personality wise. Those who wished for the fiery Lou Piniella, now with the Cubs, to take over last October would have winced at Sweet Lou screaming at Jorge Posada when a pitcher did poorly (Piniella is notoriously hard on his pitchers and catchers). Mattingly's baseball pedigree need not be examined in this space as he is legend in New York. He'd be a perfect fit, yes, but would he be able to motivate this team? That's hard to tell. He went from "batting coach to the stars", to bench coach for a month. It's one thing to teach someone to swing; it's entirely another to make someone win when their moaning over the firing of their manager who has a lock on the Hall of Fame.

With all of that said, let's pretend that the Yankees don't take Donnie Baseball as the new Yankees manager. Who else is out there? Larry Bowa? Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News had a great line about Bowa as a candidate for Yankees manager in the Tuesday, May 1, 2007 edition of the Daily News: "The very idea of bringing Larry Bowa into the manager's office should scare every Yankees player into peak performance". That pretty much says it all.

How about Joe Girardi? One has to be suspect of a man who is named NL Manager of the Year and then is fired by his team. He's been deemed too controlling, and his conversations with Jon Lieber during the course of last season, offering his buddy helpful pitching advice leaves a sour taste in many fan's mouths, let alone the Florida Marlins. Lieber, who had been unsuccessful against the Marlins earlier in the season, was much more effective against them after his chat with Girardi. If Joe Girardi became unhappy in New York as manager, who is he going to ring-up with helpful advice that could hurt the Yankees?

There is one more candidate to fill in as Yankees manager who has name recognition and is a proven commodity, even in New York. That person is Buck Showalter. Sure, he was fired by George Steinbrenner in 1995, but that's never stopped George from hiring someone back. Buck is currently employed by the Cleveland Indians as their Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations. If Brian Cashman called up Buck and said that George is so very, very sorry for whatever happened back in those pre-glory days of Showalter's first reign as manager, and that they'd love to have him back to take over for Torre who actually took over for Buck in the first place, and there's also a big pile of cash waiting for him in the dugout, Showalter would kiss the job of Senior whatever and fly back to the Bronx before Brian had a chance to hang up the phone. That's my guess, for what it's worth.

So, in conclusion, does this writer want to see Joe Torre go? Of course not. It's not Joe Torre's fault that three-fifths of his starting rotation is on the DL, the other two are shaky at best, and the rest of his team are playing like they have hangovers. Joe deserves the opportunity to ride this one out for the entire season. he has the talent, patience, and the talent on his team. After all, it's only May first.

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