Joe G vs. Joe T

August 28, 2008 – 9:33 am

The early post-mortems on the Yankee’s season are starting to show up, and one theme is certainly going to be how much of the “blame” should go to Joe Girardi.  But some of the pundits are starting to wonder if keeping Joe Torre would have made a difference, and that’s a load of crap.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Joe Torre a lot.  As a person, you couldn’t ask for a more stand-up guy.  But as a manager, the reality was that he wasn’t as phenomenal as some folks would have you believe.  Yes, he had an incredibly good record as manager of the Yankees.  But remember that year in and year out he also had the most talented team in baseball, thanks to The Boss’ checkbook.  How much of the Yankees’ success was due to Torre vs. the talent advantage is impossible to say.  Note that before he got to New York his career record was sub-500 (894-1003, .471) with only one division championship.  It was only when he had all that talent to manage that his record became so phenomenal.

Over the last five seasons with Torre each year the Yankees slipped a notch in the ultimate quest of the World Series championship.  They had gone from AL champions to only East Division champions to not even winning the division.  And each post-season was ending quicker and quicker.  There was a definite pattern there that couldn’t be denied.  So you really can’t take issue with the Yankees for wanting to make a change.

Of course, bringing in Girardi hasn’t reversed the trend.  In fact, the trend line just continues downward as the Yankees in all liklihood won’t even make the playoffs this year.  But there’s absolutely no reason to think that would have been any different had they kept Torre.  In fact, look at what Torre is doing with LA right now — inspite of being in the worst division in all of baseball, LA isn’t even playing .500 ball.  And they are falling apart in the stretch run even worse than the Yankees, losing eight of their last nine and two in a row to the Washington Nationals, the worst team in baseball.

The jury is still out on Girardi — but the idea that somehow this season would have been different if the Yankees had kept Torre is silly.

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