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, all the time

The biggest problems I've had with Joe Torre over the past four or five years is that, since the Yankees added all the big bats (Giambi, A-Rod, Sheff/Abreu, Matsui), Torre has stopped managing the game. He's a great clubhouse manager (probably the best in baseball), great at keeping pressure off the players' backs, and a fantastic regular season manager (meaning great with the line-ups, knowing when to rest everyday players, etc).

But he no longer manages a game. He hasn't been good at playing smallball with this team in years. Yes, it's hard to play smallball with a bunch of All-Stars, but they are also fine athletes with a lot of speed (Damon, Cano, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, and Giambi are all capable of stealing bases. Okay, j/k about Jason).

This is why they have struggled in the playoffs since 2001. Think stealing a base and creating a run doesn't make a difference? Two words: Dave Roberts.

Yep, they've run into solid starting pitching, and the three-run homer just disappears when that happens.

Jeter, A-Rod, Damon and Abreu should be stealing more. The top three of this order especially is tailor-built to manufacture runs.

Damon has speed and a high OBP. Jeter's the best in the game at hitting the ball to right, and he's got wheels too. Abreu's really a gap to gap, line-drive hitter now with good speed and a monster OBP. They should be using these guys to get on the board early, and distract the pitchers from their gameplans so A-Rod, Giambi, Posada and eventually Matsui can take advantage w/ long balls.

Ugh. Anyway, for a couple of years there, Torre didn't have the tools to play small ball, but he does now. I think Cashman's used the same blue print to build this team as the 4 championship teams, I just don't know if it's done yet. (Starting rotation), and if it isn't done yet, is the most important part of the equation going to be still be pitching when it's ready.

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