On Joe Torre’s Decision

I can’t NOT make a post about Joe Torre’s decision to decline the $5 million dollar contract (plus incentives that could have increased the contract’s value to $8 million) that he was offered by the Yankees organization two days ago. First and foremost, Joe Torre was snubbed. If the Yankees think that Torre needed a contract which was based on a motivational model – one that would use incentives if the Yankees won the AL pennant next year – then they really have to think again. The contract also should have been for more than one year. And I don’t think Joe Torre turned down the offer based on the money. He turned it down because the organization was being way too hesitant – if they really wanted Torre to be back, he would have been offered a much better contract a lot sooner. Torre said, “If somebody wants you to do a job, if it takes them two weeks to figure out, yeah, we want to do this, should do this, yeah, you’re a little suspicious.”

Torre called the contract an “insult,” and that it was. Torre said, “I expressed my dissatisfaction with the length of contract…I explained that and the fact that the incentives, which to me I took as, you know, an insult. That we basically get to postseason and then all of a sudden we’re satisfied with where we’ve gotten to.”

If you look at Torre’s success over the years, it should be obvious that his goal is to lead his team to the World Series. He doesn’t need that spelled out for him in the contract. Yankee Team President, Randy Levine, said “The goal of this franchise is to win the World Series. All of us get up every day knowing that is the goal and all us take that responsibility on. Unfortunately we have not met that goal for seven years.” Well, if that is the case, why isn’t there blame on the players? How about the postseason struggles of Alex Rodriguez (before this year)? What about the numerous injuries and underachievers, such as Carl Pavano? The manager can only do so much, and Joe did a lot.

Randy Levine continued, “We thought that we need to go to a performance-based model, having nothing to do with Joe Torre’s character, integrity or ability. We just think it’s important to motivate people.”  OK, let me get this straight. Levine claims that 1 million dollars will motivate Joe to win World Series? Does he really think this sum of money will act as motivation? How about the pride and achievement one feels for guiding his team through the playoffs and ultimately winning on baseball biggest stage? That should be motivation enough as it is; no amount of money can (or should) be used as motivation for people who embody great personality, spirit, and drive to get the job done. Shame on Randy Levine and the Yankees organization.

“There’s a certain trust that has to be earned and forged in order to have the commitment to follow,” Torre said. “If somebody wanted me to manage here, I’d be managing here.” Indeed, the Yankees are going to be hard-pressed to find a replacement for Torre. Whoever it will be, he will have big shoes to fill. Good luck to the Yankees trying to make the playoffs in 2008.

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on October 20, 2007.

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