10/18/07 10:30 PM ET
Torre could regret decision
Departure a lose-lose situation for him, Yankees
Joe Torre turned down the opportunity to continue to manage the New York Yankees.
Think about that. Torre decided to walk away from a job he loved. He decided to say goodbye to a city that loved him in return.
A lot of observers want to make this a case of how much money was offered compared to what Torre had been making.
This shouldn't have been about money. Torre has made enough money to provide security for his family for decades -- if not generations -- to come.
Torre was offered a one-year contract with an option that would have kept him with the title of being the highest paid manager in the game.
The offer by the Yankees would have paid Torre a base salary of $5 million. The contract offer called for $1 million bonuses for each level of the postseason the Yankees reached next season, meaning Torre could have made $8 million next year.
And if the Yankees had reached the third and final stage of postseason play in 2008 -- the World Series -- Torre would have vested for 2009 with a base salary of $8 million.
Bottom line, if you are Torre and you lead the Yankees to the World Series next year you have guaranteed yourself a minimum of $16 million.
That's not a bad offer. That is the best financial opportunity ever offered to a manager.
One reporter filed his story on Torre's decision by writing "Rather that put up with the indignity of a salary slap coupled with a performance-based contract, the man who led the Yankees to playoff appearances in all 12 years he managed walked."
The same reporter declared "It appeared to be an offer designed to be rejected."
OK, so if you are Joe Torre and you want to get back at the Yankees why not foil the plan of an offer to be rejected and accept the offer?
The agent Scott Boras, with a vested interest in decisions to be made by the Yankees (he represents Alex Rodriguez), chipped in on the subject and was quoted as saying "It is difficult, near impossible, to accept a salary cut. Successful people can afford their principles."
What in the world is the world of baseball coming to when someone believes it is "near impossible" to accept a salary cut. Working people do this every day to save their jobs?
You don't walk away from a job you love because someone cuts your pay. You do walk away if someone wants to take away the responsibility you have had. Proud people can afford their principles.
It all adds up to a lose-lose situation for Torre and the Yankees.
Joe Torre walks away from a job he was very good at and a job he loved. Torre brought stability and he brought class to the Yankees, ingredients that had been lacking at times in the organization. The Yankees have to start looking for a new manager.
The guy I feel sorry for is Brian Cashman, the Yankee general manager and a very decent man who has had a great friendship and working relationship with Torre.
Torre and Cashman formed an outstanding team and they worked well together in a structure -- that being the Yankee organization -- where expectations are extremely high and communication between the manager and the GM is critical.
The biggest fallout in all of this could be the impact of Torre's decision related to the status of the Yankees potential free agents -- closer Mariano Rivera, catcher Jorge Posada and third baseman Rodriguez.
The Yankees desperately want to retain all three players but when Cashman talks about their history with the team and their importance to the team you can almost hear the response -- "Well, what about Joe?"
The Yankees' offseason is going to turn into a never-ending drama and Torre's decision is a featured act in all of this. There may be a television show here, something like "The Bronx Is Burning -- Again."
Fred Claire was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1969-98, serving the team as executive vice president and general manager. His book, Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue, was published by SportsPublishingLLC. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.