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01/08/11 1:49 PM EST
Torre in talks to join MLB as executive VP
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Joe Torre has been in definitive discussions with Commissioner Bud Selig to join Major League Baseball as executive vice president of baseball operations, a source confirmed on Saturday.
The report that the former manager of the Yankees and Dodgers was interested in the position first emerged on Saturday in the New York Daily News.
Torre would take the job most recently filled on a full-time basis by Jimmie Lee Solomon, who was re-assigned within the MLB hierarchy this past summer. Since then, John McHale has been in that position on an interim basis with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson overseeing the umpires, security and on-field baseball operations.
Solomon now is in charge of MLB-run academies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Minor League operations and the annual Civil Rights Game. Solomon replaced Sandy Alderson as executive vice president of baseball operations in 2007, when Alderson left to become chief executive of the Padres. Alderson was hired as GM of the Mets after the 2010 season.
The source said the talks between the 70-year-old Torre and Selig are serious and that the likelihood of it happening was high, although there was no timetable for an announcement. MLB's owners and general managers meet for the first time this year in the Phoenix area this coming Wednesday and Thursday.
Torre retired as manager of the Dodgers after the 2010 season, one which snapped his 14-year streak of taking the team he managed into the playoffs.
Torre was skipper of the Yankees from 1996-2007, returning the franchise to its former glory by reaching the playoffs every year. Under Torre, the Yankees won the World Series four times in five years (1996-2000) and captured the American League pennant six times. Torre's Dodgers went to the playoffs twice in the three years he managed the team, losing the National League Championship Series to the Phillies in 2008 and '09. Last season, the Dodgers finished a disappointing 80-82 and in fourth place in the NL West -- 11 games behind the eventual World Series champion Giants.
Torre has said since he retired that he's finished with managing, but wants to remain in baseball and is looking for a new challenge. He's one of four managers on Selig's special committee that is considering on-field changes in baseball on the eve of collective bargaining for a new Basic Agreement, which expires this coming Dec. 11. Tony La Russa of the Cardinals, Jim Leyland of the Tigers and Mike Scioscia of the Angels are also members of the committee.
Torre had been talking to the Dodgers about a consulting position in that organization and said under any circumstances he'd like to remain in the Los Angeles area, where his family is happy and his daughter is going to school.
Torre has no executive experience. He played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues and was a .297 lifetime hitter as a catcher, first baseman and third baseman. A nine-time NL All-Star, Torre led that league in hitting with a .363 average when he played for the Cardinals in 1971. He subsequently spent 29 years as a manager of five teams and was named AL Manager of the Year when he led the Yankees to World Series victories in 1996 and '98.