Bronx Debate: Should Joe Torre Return as Yankees' Manager?

Tim Morley@PrideNYYCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2007

IconNow that the New York Yankees have been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the third straight season, there's much speculation that Joe Torre might be on the way out.

George Steinbrenner, in an interview with the Bergen Record last week, stated that if the Yankees were unable to get past the Indians, he could not see bringing Torre back.

Joe Torre has been one of the most successful managers in baseball history. 

He has managed the Yankees since 1996, making the playoffs every season, winning the ALCS six times, and taking home four World Championships.

He has won over 2,000 games as a manager—not only for the Yankees, but also with the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals.

Joe Torre’s managerial style is what has allowed him to be successful in New York. He has been able to handle the press and protect his players from undue scrutiny. He has made the Yankees' clubhouse a safe haven from media distraction, thus allowing the players to play up to their capabilities.

His style and his success as a manager have earned him support from both current and former Yankees. Players that have publicly come to his defense this week include Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, and Jorge Posada.

Free agents-to-be Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte have stated that Torre's status will have an impact on whether they return to the Yankees in 2008.

Torre has also received support from his coaching staff. Bench coach Don Mattingly—a possible frontrunner for Torre’s job should he leave—has stated publicly that Torre is one of the best men he has worked with.

All this support might mean little, though.

This isn't the first time Steinbrenner has been on the verge of firing Torre.

After last year’s first-round loss, there was a great deal of speculation as to whether Torre would return for 2007.

When the Yankees were seven games under .500 at the end of May, there were rumors that Torre was on the chopping block until he received a statement of support from the Boss.

IconIf Joe Torre isn’t brought back for the 2008 season, there are a few candidates lined up for a shot at the job. The most likely successor is Mattingly.

Mattingly was recruited by Steinbrenner to join the Yankees as the hitting coach in 2003. He was moved up to bench coach after Joe Girardi left to manage the Florida Marlins.

Mattingly's experience as bench coach puts him in great position to move into the role of manager if Torre leaves.

Another likely successor is Girardi. A New York favorite, Girardi was a member of the 1996 Yankees' championship team. He served as the Yankees bench coach under Torre for the 2005 season.

Girardi went on to manage the Florida Marlins in 2006, a team with over 20 rookies and a $14 million dollar payroll. Girardi lead the Marlins to within two games of the playoffs, winning the NL manager of the year in the process.  

Few managers can brag about the kind of success Torre has had. Unfortunately, the Yankees' inability to get out of the first round of the playoffs in recent years has led some to suspect that the Yankees have hit a wall with Torre at the helm.

I tend to agree.

While I love what Torre has done for the Yankees, I think it’s time to bring in a passionate, fiery, and most of all young manager to motivate the fresh talent coming into Bronx.

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