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Yankees Offseason Notes: Teixeira + Pettitte = USA! USA!

The roster isn’t supposed to be announced until Thursday but some names have been confirmed for the World Baseball Classic. Mark Teixeira and Andy Pettitte made that list and they will represent Team USA in March. That would mean that they would miss Yankees Spring Training, yes (along with Robinson Cano who is playing for Team Domincan Republic) but they will get the workout they need to be prepared for the upcoming 2013 season. Pettitte would be reunited with former Yankees manager Joe Torre so it would be great to see those two working together again, although it will only be for as long as Team USA plays in the World Baseball Classic.

While we worry about Pettitte and the workload that the World Baseball Classic will give him (let’s remember, Andy is 40), this could be just the thing for Teixeira (who is notorious for slow starts to seasons). As Bryan Hoch of MLB.com said, “Given his history of slow regular season starts, perhaps this is a new way of trying to avoid those April struggles.” Yes, let’s hope that’s the case. The rest of the rosters will be released on Thursday and you can check back here to see which of your Yankees (besides Pettitte and Teixeira) will get the prestigious honor of representing their country.

In Other News:

Derek Jeter is still working hard towards Opening Day. Good for the Captain!

– I had an article about the Hall of Fame shutout published on Yahoo! that discusses how much of the voting process focused on Steroid Speculation. Read it and if you like it, tell your friends to read it. Tell your neighbors to read it! Tell your cat to read it! Tell anyone you know to read it!

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Five years later, Torre’s exit still a shocking disgrace

This month it will officially be five years – that’s half a decade – since Joe Torre was manager of the New York Yankees.

In his twilight years, George Steinbrenner was still The Boss, and he professed it more than ever that postseason. Following a heart-breaking Game 2 loss to the Indians in the 2007 ALDS, George said that if the Yankees couldn’t rebound and win the series, then Joe Torre would be gone.

That was an unimaginable thought – the Yankees without Joe Torre. 12 years since he was hired and tagged with the nickname “Clueless Joe”, Yankee fans everywhere had come to respect and love their skipper. After all, making the playoffs every season was not always as easy as the Yankees had made it seem all those years.

But clearly, times were different in 2007. These weren’t the same Bombers who had gone out a number of seasons prior and ran off a streak of four World Series championships in five years. Where Tino Martinez make slick-fielding plays at first base, there was Doug Mientkiewicz. Where Paul O’Neill gave it all in right field, there was Bobby Abreu. Yes, Andy Pettitte was back, and Jeter, Mo, and Jorge Posada had never left. But the dynasty ended a long time ago, and with it went the clutch factor of postseason Yankees teams.

But not lost in that thought, was just how amazing the ’07 Yankees were [in the regular season]. After pulling through a treacherous 22-29 start, being 13 1/2 games behind the eventual Fall Classic champion Red Sox, the Yankees fought back with Joe Torre leading the way. A 72-39 finish from the end of May resulted in a 94-win campaign, and a Wild Card berth. Oh, and they ended just 2 games back of Boston for the division.
To say the 67-year old native New Yorker had lost touch with his team, was simply false. Joe was leading the Yankees the best he ever had. “Energy”, was the word he kept re-iterating to his team. Bring your A-game night in and night out, and you’ll win.

As much as it held true from the end of May to late September, in early October, the message had run its course. The Yankees dropped the first two games of the series, and were in a must-win situation heading back to the Bronx and the House That Ruth Built. It just so happened Game 3 and Game 4 would be the final postseason games held at the old Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees lifted the hearts of their fans and even Joe Torre off the bench with a thrilling 8-4 Game 3 victory. The momentum was back. The swagger was back. And for that one night, Torre’s Yankees proved they wouldn’t quit on their manager and that maybe, with all the comebacks they had made under his helm, one more was in the works.

The next night, chants of “Joe Torre” could be heard by all 56,315 in attendance at Yankee Stadium. But they were not for the right reasons. He made a bunch of pitching changes in the Yankees’ 6-4 loss, and each time he came out, the chants got larger and larger. People weren’t oblivious; they knew what was going to happen. As Cleveland celebrated on the field and later in the clubhouse, the Yankees’ players, and even the media, could not control their emotions. Torre’s post-game press conference was short and to the point – like it had been for all those years. He was bluntly honest, and gave credit to where it was due.

The days after the elimination, everyone was a bit surprised why Torre hadn’t gotten the boot yet. His contract was up, but the Yankees hadn’t officially dismissed him or announced they were parting ways. People had an idea – they were the classy Yankees. They’d give Joe time to move on, and then when he was ready, they would have a big glorious press conference, as well as announcing they’d retire #6 the following year in a ceremony at the old house.

At least, that was my opinion. And was I ever wrong.

The Yankees flew Joe Torre out to Tampa to discuss a potential new contract. With George Steinbrenner and sons present, along with general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine, they got down to business. Some say the Yankees never intended to bring him back, that it was more of a “courtesy” meet up – that they knew Torre would leave without a new deal.

In my opinion, The Boss bit his lip and knew Joe was far more valuable to the Yankees than he had ever realized. He was the only manager suited to lead this team in the coming years, and George wanted him back. But, being himself, he didn’t want to admit he was wrong about letting him go and sell out to Torre by giving him the praise and dollars he truly deserved. So he offered him what a lot of people like to call, an embarrassment.

Opinions aside, he offered Torre a one-year, $5 million contract, with incentives of $1 million added on for each postseason round the Yankees made. Also included was a guaranteed option for 2009 – if the Yankees reached the World Series.

One thing Torre stressed in his autobiography, The Yankee Years, was that he wanted job security. He hated managing on one-year contracts, and for a skipper of his caliber, understandably so. But with the roster the Yankees put together for 2008, there was no way they’d make the World Series, essentially being just another one year deal for Joe. But with him at the helm, maybe they’d get at least another playoff berth, which would have been a very important one for Yankee Stadium’s final season.

Torre was smart enough to realize that and decided that enough was enough. He didn’t want to continue playing games with The Boss, and did not want to stay longer than he was welcomed. George wanted him back I believe, but Hank, Hal, Cash, and Levine didn’t. Even though he’s The Boss, he wasn’t The Boss at those meetings. It truly seemed majority ruled in this decision.

So with that, Joe was gone. Discreetly, ironically, and in a sick, twisted way, the Yankees turned it on Torre, saying he rejected their offer. No, he rejected an opportunity for embarrassment and further scrutiny he didn’t deserve nor want at this stage of his life. Torre walked out with a heavy heart, but with pride, and the Yankees were left looking like fools.

They did find as good a successor as was possible in Joe Girardi, and he’s done a great job, leading the Yankees to the playoffs in every season but his first. Each year, Girardi battled injuries, controversies, and flat out inconsistent play to still lead the team to three division titles and a wild card berth, including a 2009 World Series win.

But even still, each time I look over to the dugout while at a game, or see a shot of him leaning over the dugout’s padded fence on TV, something looks off. Girardi definitely looks like the skipper, but to me, there was only one Yankees manager, at least for my generation. And that was #6, Joe Torre.

I will be a Yankee fan until I die and then afterwards, but I’ll never forget their idiocy in letting go one of baseball’s most iconic and successful managers [even at age 67] far too quickly. And now as we saw Joe Girardi incredibly over-manage and under-manage in the Yankees’ all but failed attempt for #28, we can only ask what would Mr. T, as Derek Jeter called him, would do.

Morning Bits: Torre not sure Jeter will reach 4K, Sabathia, All-Stars

Good morning all.  Yankees ended the series with the white sox strong taking the last two games.  Both games had great pitching performances from Hughes and Kuroda.  The Yankees begin a new series tonight with AL East rival the Tampa Bay Rays.  Rookie Moore will be on the mound for Tampa and Garcia will be on the mound for the Yankees.

Enjoy the day. Let’s get right to the links….

– DJ4K?  Joe Torre doesn’t think so. ESPN NY has the story on why he thinks 4,000 hits is out of reach for Jeter.

– This should be no surprise Mike Mazzeo of ESPN NY reports that Sabathia will not pitch in the All-Star game.

Bryan Hoch of mlb.com has the story on the Yankee starters for the All-Star game: Jeter, Granderson, Cano.

– Manager of the White Sox Robin Ventura had a lot of nice things to say about Jeter writes Marty Noble of mlb.com.

– If you missed it yesterday the Yankees acquired relief pitcher Chad Qualls from the Phillies: article from mlb.com.

Zach Schonburn of the New York Times writes the hot bats provide relief for the Yankees.

Is It Hard To Manage Big-Market Teams?

I’ve always been fascinated with the managing side of Major League Baseball. Whether it was Torre of Girardi at the helm, I imagined myself in their shoes, and how difficult a job it would be. Or, would it be?

Something I’ve come to think of over the past few years, is that I don’t know if it really is a difficult job to manage a big-market team like the Yankees or Phillies. Perennial contenders and annual spenders in free agency, who restock and retool their roster to the best of their ability year after year. The manager doesn’t need to lift a finger in building the team, and when it does come together, it seems he doesn’t need to say or do much for the team to perform.

We’ve all talked about Joe Torre’s incredible-turned-ugly tenure with the Yankees, and how he went down as one of the best skippers of the 20th Century. But in reality – and I am a Torre fan – his success was because of what was given to him, not for what he did. Buck Showalter and Gene Michael had already set the Yanks up for glory before Torre even got a phone call from George Steinbrenner. The Core Four, which at the time was much larger including guys like Bernie, O’Neill, and David Cone, were already on the team. Tino Martinez would be signed to a big contract to replace Don Mattingly, and New York was already coming off a playoff appearance in 1995.

And what do you know, Torre led the Yankees to the World Series championship in ’96, ending an 18-year title drought. “Clueless Joe” was now the talk of the town, and a well-respected skipper. Add three more titles to his resume, and some, maybe most people now think of him as a sure-bet Hall of Famer.

The thing that I am really stumped about, is was it really hard for Torre to manage one of the best dynasties in sports history? Think about how great the Yankees were in the 90’s. Who really built the team? Showalter, Michael, and eventually Cashman who re-tooled for the 98, 99, and 2000 championships. Is it a stretch to say regardless of the skipper, the Yanks would have had similar success? I don’t think so.

Read the rest of this entry

Girardi’s Managing Style

           

Joe Girardi has definitely learned to relax more since his 1st year as Yankees manager when the Yankees missed the playoffs. He was way too uptight, testy with the media, and had to many rules. That attitude got him canned in Florida despite winning manager of the year, although you can blame that more on the craziness of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria than Girardi. Entering his 5th season as Yankees manager he has improved greatly in these areas.  He still constantly tweaks with player rotations during the season , which can get irritable. However, due to the age of the team he is managing he doesn’t have much choice.

Girardi has a great bench and should utilize it. He has to utilize it because he has guys on his team that need days off. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter definitely need lots of rest during the year so they are fresh and healthy for the stretch run. Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez are great options off the bench to replace them. In the outfield Andruw Jones is a great 4th outfielder and you are not loosing a whole lot when he is in the lineup. Joe Torre did not have the bench towards the end of his tenure that he did at the beginning so he did not use it often. Girardi has a great one so why not utilize it? It is a 162 game season and you can’t just put the same lineup out every game. In the bullpen Girardi is a by the book or in his case by the binder manager. He will very rarely go against what the matchups in his binder say. I think he does need to go with his gut more often and what he his eyes tell him about what the pitcher is doing.  However, I think managing the bullpen is probably his greatest strength as a manager. He will never pitch a guy until his arm falls off like Torre did. Torre pretty much killed the careers of Scott Proctor, Tanyon Sturtze, Paul Quantrill, and Tom Gordon by pitching them until their arm’s almost fell off. Girardi will never pitch a guy more then 2 days in a row. It is good that he has such a deep bullpen that it is easy for him to do that. Girardi is willing to trust everybody in his bullpen while Torre only trusted a selective few. This not to suggest Girardi is in Torre’s league as a manger don’t get me wrong, but it is one thing he did better. There is nothing wrong with Girardi’s in season competition. It should keep everybody on edge and make everybody raise their game. If players do not raise their game when challenged by another player then it is on them and not on the manager.

I am a bigger Girardi fan than a lot of fans are. People do not realize that managing the Yankees is a difficult job and not anybody can do it. Sure you are handed an extremely talented team last year but managing the egos, media, fans, and expectations can be really stressful. You try being the person to tell Derek Jeter he needs the day off or the one to bench Jorge Posada last season. I think Girardi does a really good job. Sure I and pretty much everybody else would like to see him make more decisions based off feel for the game but nobody is perfect.  It will be intriguing to see how Girardi continues to evolve as a manager.

Morning Bits: New signings, Forbes list, Brackman, Joe Torre

Good Morning all.  We are now one day away from learning what is going to happen with Nakajima.  Mainly by now we are lead to believe that the sides aren’t close and nothing is going to happen but you never know.

Let’s get right to the links….

* Yankees sign three new players to a minor league deal.

* Yankees soar on Forbes most valuable list.

* Former Yankee Andrew Brackman signs with Cincy.

* Joe Torre is aspiring to complete rare baseball trifecta.

Torre steps down from his MLB position to pursue ownership of Dodgers

Torre steps down from his MLB position to pursue ownership of Dodgers

by Matt S.

Joe Torre has resigned from his job as MLB executive vice president of baseball operations in order to pursue ownership of the Dodgers. Torre was hired in February of last year, so he only held the position for about 10 months. Joe Garagiola, Jr., Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork will handle his responsibilities until a full-time replacement is named. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Torre will join a potential ownership group which is headed by Los Angeles real estate developer Rick Caruso. The 71-year-old compiled a 259-227 record (.553) while managing the Dodgers from 2008-2010.

Morning Bits: Buehrle, Posada, Spring Training

Good morning all. Here are your links:

In the opinion of Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger, Mark Buehrle could enhance the Yankees’ rotation, as Jimmy Key did in the 90s.

— Joe Torre and David Cone talked about Jorge Posada’s career as a Yankees. Torre said he thought Posada was Hall of Fame-worthy.

As you know, the Yankees’ Spring Training schedule was released yesterday. Click this link to see the official press release.

Have a great Friday.

Morning Bits: Torre, Spring Training, Sabathia

Joe Torre is opposed to instant replay despite some calls in the World Series this year. In my opinion I’d rather have it the way it is now.

— After a 16 year hiatus the Mets and Yankees will be playing each other in Spring Training.

Sabathia backs a Manhattan Hooters rival.   We know his love for food so this fits him well.

Have a great day.

Morning Bits 6/27/11

Good Morning all.  Yankees win another series yesterday.  The Yankees are off today and start a new series with the Brewers on Tuesday.

and without any more delay here are your morning links…

* Yesterday Torre was back where he belonged.

* With an off day today the Yankees are skipping Gordon in the rotation this week.

* A-Rod is streaking besides a sore knee.

 

 

 

 

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
NY Yankees 45 31 .592 - 25-18 20-13 399 302 +97 Won 2 7-3
Boston 45 32 .584 .5 22-16 23-16 409 324 +85 Won 1 5-5
Tampa Bay 44 34 .564 2 18-18 26-16 334 300 +34 Won 4 8-2
Toronto 39 39 .500 7 17-18 22-21 356 349 +7 Won 3 5-5
Baltimore 35 40 .467 9.5 22-19 13-21 313 359 -46 Won 1 5-5

Morning/Afternoon Bits

Sorry having a late go at it this morning.  My fiance took me to a Yankee game last night.  To bad they lost but you all know that already by now.   AJ looked awful walking the number 9 batter 3 times.   UNREAL!!!!

and here are your links….

* Mets are not looking into trading K-Rod to the Yankees.

* SWB won in a rout last night.

* lastly here is a story about old Coach Joe coming back to Yankee stadium for Old Timer’s Day.

 

 

 

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
Boston 44 31 .587 - 22-16 22-15 401 316 +85 Lost 3 5-5
NY Yankees 43 31 .581 .5 23-18 20-13 385 295 +90 Lost 2 7-3
Tampa Bay 42 34 .553 2.5 18-18 24-16 313 288 +25 Won 2 7-3
Toronto 37 39 .487 7.5 17-18 20-21 345 346 -1 Won 1 5-5
Baltimore 34 39 .466 9 21-18 13-21 301 344 -43 Won 1 4-6

Morning Bits 6/17/11

Good morning everyone.  Don’t forget today is a day game in Chicago against the Cubs.  Cubs are a poor teams this year with a lot of fielding errors so hopefully the yankees take this series.

and here are your morning links.

FYI Short Season Staten Island Yankees start today.  It’s a cheap way to see some of the future Yankees/Trade bait. Tickets start around 15 bucks. 

* Martin was back in the lineup yesterday and seems all his issues are gone for now.

* Jones & Texiera deny that they were stealing signs in the Texas series.  To me though good for the Yankees if they picked up on their signs It’s the catchers fault if he can’t put down multiple signs downs to confuse the running at second.

* Torre & Bernie Williams are returning to Yankee Stadium for their first Old Timer’s Day.

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
Boston 41 27 .603 - 19-13 22-14 357 287 +70 Won 2 9-1
NY Yankees 39 28 .582 1.5 23-17 16-11 357 266 +91 Won 3 6-4
Tampa Bay 36 33 .522 5.5 15-18 21-15 279 269 +10 Lost 2 6-4
Toronto 34 35 .493 7.5 17-18 17-17 330 326 +4 Lost 1 4-6
Baltimore 31 35 .470 9 20-18 11-17 268 307 -39 Won 1 5-5
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