I'm currently watching Joe's press conference, and it looks like I read this situation wrong. Joe's problems were with the length of the contract, and the pay cut. The length of the contract because he'd have to deal with the constant rumors and comments from ownership should the Yankees get off to a bad start. The pay cut because he thinks it's a sign that the organization wasn't happy with his performance this season. Basically, he's saying if someone wanted me to manage here, I would be. Personally, I think if he wanted to be managing here, he would be, but I may be way off base.
When I wrote about
the Joe Torre situation earlier today, I saw the press release, and wrote my feelings on the matter. I didn't take a look around the Internet to see what was being said, I didn't flip on ESPN or any talk radio. I just wrote what my gut reaction to the news was. I'm glad I did.
Tonight, I'm finding that just about everyone else has a different point of view on the contract Joe was offered, and then turned down. Here, take a look for yourself:
I love Joe. Despite all the griping about his management of the pen and reluctance to play young guys, I truly liked the guy. I thought he was the perfect guy to manage this team, but let's face facts. He's been the manager of the team with the highest payroll in baseball for the past 7 years. They've won zero championships. The only guy who doesn't get fired with a stretch like that is Isiah Thomas. I know he's made the playoffs every year, and that's great, but the Yankees and Yankee fans don't define themselves by making the playoffs. We don't buy t-shirts saying "A.L. East Champions," and we shouldn't with a payroll like that. The only thing that matters is the ring.
I'm not saying Joe should've been fired. What I'm saying is that I think the contract the Yankees offered him was more than fair. If the Yanks didn't make the playoffs, he would've had a 29% pay cut next year, on the other hand, if he won the series, he'd get a raise next year. Did Joe deserve to make twice as much as second highest-paid manager in the entire league? No. He did his job, he did it well, and you know what, the contract the Yankees offered him reflected that. I hardly think being the highest paid manager in the game constitutes being "emasculated" as some people have said.
The Yankees showed Joe a lack of respect by making public statements that his job was on the line, then leaving him in limbo for 10 days while they decided what to do with him. George should've kept his mouth shut. There's no arguing that fact. This contract, on the other hand, was not a slap in the face, nor did it "disrespect" Joe or what he's done for this franchise.
Obviously, you can play devil's advocate to my argument. What difference does that $3M in incentives make to the Bombers. The answer to that logic is 4-13. That's the Yankees record in their last 17 playoff games. This organization wants another ring, and they wrote this contract to motivate their manager to bring it home. I don't have a problem with incentives in contracts, in fact, I think they're a great thing. You think Carl Pavano would've made a few more starts over the past 3 seasons if he needed to actually pitch to earn some of the $40M the Yankees lined his pockets with? That's an extreme example, but you get the point.
I'm glad Joe said no, because I don't think he deserved the treatment he's gotten over the past two weeks. The guy is 67 years-old. Honestly, I thought he was going to retire a couple of years ago, before he signed his current contract. It's sad to see Joe go, but the reaction I'm seeing right now makes it seem like the Yankees didn't offer him a contract at all. Like they just let him go. That's not the case. Joe left on his own terms, choosing not to sign a contract which would've kept him the highest-paid manager in baseball for at least one more year. If he wanted to stay, he could have, and ultimately, he would have.
And now, a final Letter to the Skipper: