Saturday, January 19, 2008

Torre Sleeps As Girardi Meets

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article describing Joe Torre's smooth transition into the Dodger managerial job. According to the piece, with Spring Training only a month away "Torre said he has spoken to only a few of his players." Sounds a little too smooth.

On the other hand, New Yankees manager Joe Girardi spent his offseason traveling to the General Manager meetings in Nashville and to the Yankees youth academy in the Dominican Republic. Shockingly, these trips were never made during Torre's tenure as Yankee skipper.

These examples are not to condemn Torre as a baseball manager - he has won four world series and made the playoffs every year he headed up the Bombers - it is more of a promotion of Girardi as the new manager. I believe Torre will be successful in LA, but examples from the article are a bit damning and possibly offer insights into why the last three and a half postseasons have been such disappointments for Yankee fans:
The new Dodgers manager has talked to Pierre and Garciaparra and is at a mini-camp for prospects, but there are many he hasn't spoken to. He has made few decisions on the lineup.

He said he doesn't know what most of them look like or how they think. He said he has few ideas about who will hit in what spot.

About the only certainty in Torre's mind that he was willing to share with reporters Thursday at Dodger Stadium is that Andruw Jones will be his starting center fielder -- "Obviously," he said.

Everything else, Torre said, will be decided at spring training, which begins in Vero Beach, Fla., on Feb. 14, when pitchers and catchers report.
Torre said his conversation with Pierre was similar to one he had with Bernie Williams as manager of the New York Yankees.

"I just basically said to him what I said to Bernie Williams when we signed Kenny Lofton: 'We're going to do what's best for the team and when we leave spring training, it's going to be with the three guys playing the outfield that we all agree will give us the best shot,' " Torre said.
This is not to say Torre's 2008 club will fall apart under his watch, because it won't. The Dodgers have one of the top three farm systems in Major League Baseball and a bevy of talented youngsters at or knocking on the big league's door.

However, a new voice was necessary in the Bronx, and the hands-on, no excuses persona which Girardi carries with him may be just the perfect change of scenery.

Canseco Hires Enquirer Writer,
Report Says Santana Is Overpriced

· After being dumped by a writer from Sports Illustrated, Jose Canseco has a new ghost writer for his book. The writer comes from the National Enquirer and is the same author who helped O.J. Simpson pen a book which searches for Nicole Brown's "real killers."

· Finally, Vince Gennaro of Yahoo! Sports offered a piece explaining why Johan Santana isn't worth the expenditure.

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