October 10, 2006


Torre Will Be Much Easier To Replace Than A-Rod (STEVEN GOLDMAN,. October 10, 2006, NY Sun)

For Joe Torre, the hint that he's rehearsing for retirement was the way he handled Alex Rodriguez throughout the season and particularly in the playoffs. First, apparently bored with answering constant A-Rod questions in his preand post-game press briefings and frustrated with a severe late-August slump, decided to sanction the swift-boating of his own third baseman in the pages of Sports Illustrated. The SI story waited like a time bomb for Rodriguez to emerge from his slump and regain his confidence, which he rapidly did, waited until just before the post-season when the Yankees needed Rodriguez, the most versatile, reliable slugger on their roster, to hit.

With this helpful stab in the back, Rodriguez was "motivated" right back into his slump.

Not satisfied, Torre then jerked the future Hall of Famer up and down the lineup throughout the short series. Where a player hits over the course of four games isn't all that important, but the psychological impact of those moves is. Rather than leave Rodriguez alone, and minimize the stress on his player, Torre did everything he could to make him the story.

This was poor judgment, and not necessarily because it hurt the Yankees in the series. There is no way of knowing if it did. Rodriguez was the team's primary cleanup hitter this year, batting in that slot 117 times. Had Torre left him there he still might not have turned into Mr. October. That's something we can never know. However, Torre's lineup changes not only minimized that possibility, but will have reverberations for 2007. He likely made it impossible for both he and Rodriguez to return to the Yankees next year.

In tacitly endorsing the Jason Giambi-Derek Jeter A-Rod clubhouse freeze-out, in embarrassing the twotime MVP, Torre likely burned his bridges with Rodriguez. In doing so, he compromised the one thing that made him useful to the Yankees. Torre is a poor strategist, particularly when it comes to handling his pitching staff. That's not why he's been with the Yankees for 11 years. It was his ability to take a random collection of millionaires and show them how to block out the owner, block out the press, and become a cohesive, professional unit. That day is done.

It's also easier to replace Jeter than Arod.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2006 7:47 AM

Ohhh.... "swiftboating of his own third baseman" Translation: people said things about the guy, which while true, we truebelievers didn't want to hear, prefering our own fantasies of conspiracies.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 10, 2006 10:04 AM

The Yankees lost because of a lack of starting pitching not because Torre jerked Rodriguez around in the batting order.

Posted by: Bartman at October 10, 2006 10:25 AM

The Tribe should take A-Rod off the hands of the Yankees. Paul Byrd, Rafaeal Betencourt and Andy Marte plus a prospect pitcher (mot Miller) to NY.

Posted by: Bob at October 10, 2006 10:57 AM