Yankees Rumors & News
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Joe TorreThe New York Yankees begin their quest for a 27th World Series title tonight in Cleveland. Is this also the beginning of Joe Torre’s final days as Yankees manager?

With Torre’s contract up at the end of the season that, of course, has been the focus of much of the media coverage leading up to tonight’s first pitch.

Let me be clear. I’m a Torre guy. I’ve said this before, and I haven’t changed my opinion. Regardless of the outcome over the next few days or weeks, Torre, 67, deserves to be back next year. And the year after that. And the year after that if he chooses.

Pick on Torre’s bullpen management if you want — and I know many of you want to. But you can’t argue with the results. Four World Series titles, albeit none since 2000, and playoff appearances in all of his 12 seasons. No one is better suited to handle the egos of the Yankees clubhouse, the expectations that surround the team year after year and the media horde that follows them everywhere.

Newsday’s Shaun Powell makes the case for keeping Torre this way.

What if the Yankees get erased early for the third straight year? Suppose they don’t justify the millions spent on payroll, or the All-Stars on the roster, or the inflated hopes of their fans, or their mantra as a championship-or-bust franchise? What then becomes of the man with four rings, but none since 2000?

What becomes of Torre, whose job was in jeopardy right around this time last year, when the Tigers finished off the Yankees in four shocking games?

Here’s what they should do: Tell Torre how tremendously disappointing it is to come up short again, escort him out of his office and tell him not to come back … until next spring.

Barring an amazing managerial goof in the next week or two, the common sense thing to do is bring Torre back regardless of what happens against the Indians or whomever the Yankees meet in the next round, if they advance. It wouldn’t even be that tough a call, for these very reasons, in order of importance:

Unlike last year, Lou Piniella isn’t on deck.

Don Mattingly and Joe Girardi, the two Yankees managers in training, aren’t ready.

The Yankees won’t find anyone better.

Torre actually did a good job this season.

And Torre, perhaps more than anyone, deserves to be around next season, the last at Yankee Stadium.

I know that the Yankees have imploded in the playoffs three straight seasons, including first-round exits the past two seasons. Remember, though, that the 2005 season was a lot like this one. Off to an awful start, the Yankees charged back to make the playoffs. Torre’s steady hand and firm belief in his team had a lot to do with that, just as it did this year.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman doesn’t sound like a guy who is ready to shove Torre, whom he has shielded from George Steinbrenner’s ax several times, out the door. From MLB.com:

“People ask me all the time if this is Joe’s best year, and I don’t think that’s fair to the other years,” said Cashman. “I think every year, he has been consistent and done the same job. He’s obviously very good at what he does. Ultimately, whatever we do and however we do it, it’s all done together.”

Torre has been hinting for the last month or so that he would love to return, that he still enjoys it . He, Cashman and everyone else knows, though, that another first-round implosion might finally be enough to get Steinbrenner to send Torre on his way.

That would be a mistake.

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