For yet another baseball news cycle, the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox do not have the headlines. Today it is the news that former Yankees' manager Joe Torre has accepted a 3-year/$14.5MM offer to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers. This moves seems predicated on the hope that Joe Torre can be a calming influence on a Dodgers' clubhouse fractured along veteran/rookie lines.
Even if he can heal that schism, is there any reason to believe Joe Torre will be able to manage the team effectively? After all, he no longer has the luxury of "forced" playing time decisions in the form of eight-figure salaries at eight positions. Nor does he have the luxury of using the DH slot to get one of those eight-figured players regular ABs.
There is no bottomless pit of money to erase those eight-figure mistakes either. Torre will have to play the cards he is dealt without the comfort of knowing the team can just eat a $20MM salary like the Yankees did with Jason Giambi. How will Dodgers' management react if Joe doesn't play one of Ned Coletti's high-profile signees?
The reputation Torre built as a manager of people - not as a game manager - will be put to the test. For all Dodgers' fans, here's hoping the skills Torre demonstrated in the Yankees' environment transfer to the Dodgers' one.
One also wonders whether Scott Proctor spoke with any Dodgers' teammates last season about Torre's penchant for burning through arms. If this has already set the clubhouse on edge, then Torre will have more to deal. This reputation precedes him unlike it did when he hurdled the low bar set upon taking the Yankees' reigns in 1996.
In related news, the New York Post reports that "The Dodgers first made contact with Maury Gostfriend, Torre's agent, before Torre flew to Tampa two weeks ago and rejected the Yankees' one-year offer of $5 million with a chance to make $3 million more in incentives." This offers soem rationale for Torres' actions. He flew from Westchester, NY to Tampa, FL, only to walk out of the meeeting after 20 minutes. He had an offer in pocket and felt no need to waste any more time negotitating.
Could this be tampering given Torre's contract with the Yankees ran through October 31st? Is this the first hint that the reputation Torre built in NY as a stand-up guy isn't all it was made out to be?
Fantasy Sports with Eric Karabell at 11AM.
Fantasy Sports with AJ Mass at 3PM.
NFL with Craig Mortensen at 11AM.
NFL with Mel Kiper at 1PM.
NFL with Gary Horton at 4PM.
Baseball America's Jim Callis at 2PM.
NBA with David Thorpe at noon.