Torre tries to clear air with Cashman
Former Yankees manager critical of GM in upcoming book
NEW YORK -- The pages of text relating to Joe Torre's version of his final days under employment with the Yankees have not yet made it to bookshelves.
But the manager is already making efforts to clear the air. Torre reached out Sunday to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, calling his former boss from a vacation spot in Hawaii.
"I haven't read the book -- clearly there is a book coming out," Cashman said Monday, speaking on a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte's new contract. "We'll all be dealing with whatever is in it.
"It doesn't mean that everything that's in it you're going to have to agree with. The truth of the matter is, I'm very comfortable and I think the Yankees are very comfortable with the relationship that we had and I personally had with Joe over the years."
Torre's book, a collaboration with Tom Verducci, hones in on the skipper's life with the Yankees from 1996-2007. The period brought great amounts of success, including four World Series titles and six American League pennants, but also a fair amount of controversy.
Excerpts of the more salacious details surfaced in reports published Sunday by the New York Daily News and the New York Post. In the book, according to reports, Torre notes that Alex Rodriguez was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates and harbored an obsession with perceived rival Derek Jeter.
"I can tell you that I have never one time heard the term, 'A-Fraud,' until I saw that rolling on the TV," Pettitte said. "As far as my knowledge of any of that, if it did go on, it went on before I was there.
"If it did go on when I was there or if any of it was brought to me, I can promise you that it wouldn't be talked to me. I would tell them to go to Alex if they've got a problem with it. Obviously that's just not the way that things should be done or handled in a clubhouse."
As the book pertains to Cashman, Torre is critical of the GM for not relaying his wishes for a two-year contract after the 2007 season, and gripes that the GM did not stump harder with management for him to stay.
The Yankees were bounced in the first round of the 2007 playoffs by the Indians and would eventually hire Joe Girardi after Torre rejected an incentive-based one-year contract.
Cashman had publicly supported Torre after the 2005 and '06 seasons, and continued to do so throughout the '07 campaign. Torre later landed a three-year contract with the Dodgers, and Cashman said that he was encouraged by his phone conversation that their relationship remained strong.
"I don't know what's coming out in this book and I'm sure there's aspects of it that I might not necessarily agree with," Cashman said. "I can just tell you that I'm thankful of the time that Joe was here. I'm comfortable with my relationship and how we interacted throughout the entire process.
"There was a lot more than I can remember, which is a great thing to be able to say about somebody, in terms of great times. There were so many fun, tremendous things that were accomplished as a group through the years while he was the manager of this club. Every aspect of that is what I'm going to remember as much as I can."
In a Q&A published Sunday on Sports Illustrated's Web site, Verducci noted that the book is a third-person narrative, not a first-person tell-all.
"This the result of hundreds of interviews with not only Torre but players, front-office executives, executives of other teams, players on other teams," Verducci told SI.com. "It's a 477-page book about 12 years of baseball history. Again, it's not a Joe Torre first-person book, so there's a lot of reporting that's presented in there in addition to Joe's insights.
"Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It's not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that."
"The Yankee Years" is being published by Doubleday and will be released on Feb. 3. Torre is set for a book signing that day at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, N.J., and is scheduled to appear that night on The Late Show with David Letterman.
"There's always going to be some controversy that surrounds this club," Cashman said. "The best way to deal with it is to rally around each other. ... I know that with success, books get written. Maybe we'll be fortunate to run into some more success here down the line."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.