Whether or not he deserves all the blame for the debacle that is the Yankees 2007 season, I think it’s clear that there’s a good chance Joe Torre isn’t coming back next year. Barring a miraculous turn-around, this Yankees team is going to go down in history as the most expensive .500 (if that!) team in the history of the sport. But who will and who should replace him? Here’s a run-down of possible successors:
Pros: The former Yanks catcher and current YES broadcaster is probably the leading candidate for the job. He was the National League Manager of the Year in his first and only season on the bench. During his playing days, he was generally regarded as an intelligent student of the game who kept detailed scouting reports. He knows the organization, has experience with the New York media and is well-respected by the players in the clubhouse.
Cons: Why did he get fired after one year of excellent managing? There are rumors that Girardi is stubborn and controlling and will not listen to higher-ups. Florida management was reportedly upset with the way he used Josh Johnson in the days leading up to a serious arm injury.
Pros: He is beloved in New York by fans, the media and his players. Like Girardi, he knows the organization and what he’s getting himself into.
Cons: This is his first year as Yankees bench coach. Joe Torre isn’t making very many smart decisions. Ergo, Mattingly is either giving him bad advice or is not getting in the way of Torre being Torre.
Pros: There’s a chance that Ozzie will be available if the ChiSox continue their free-fall. Guillen is the antithesis of Torre, and that might exactly be what the sleeping Bombers need. During the 2005 season, Ozzie managed his pitching staff expertly, using his best pitchers in high-leverage situations, taking chances. He is blustery and candid. A great quote. The New York media would undoubtedly take to him. Bonus: He has a healthy dislike for Jay Mariotti.
Cons: Well, he says a lot of stupid offensive sh*t, so his act might get old quick in New York. He also has a way of alienating players, even good ones (eg. Magglio Ordonez). If things are going badly, he might do something rash like bat his best hitter 8th or something like that. One thing he’s probably not very likely to do well is to put out a fire.
Pros: Reminds me of a cross between Tony Danza and Alan Thicke, who used to star in back-to-back shows on ABC. His Mets teams were very successful for the most part. He would likely shake things up a bit.
Cons: He is an egomaniac who is constantly micromanaging. He has a fetish for unknown crappy players like Timo Perez and Benny Agbayani. Bobby V is a divisive figure.
Of these four I choose Ozzie Guillen. It’s time for a huge change and Ozzie for two years will do wonders. The thing I am most concerned about regarding a manager is how he’ll manage his pitchers. Joe Girardi doesn’t inspire confidence in me after his performance last year with Johnson and Willis. Guillen, for whatever reason, has been good with his pitchers. But beyond that, Guillen will waken the fire dormant within our souls. He will say crazy stuff, he’ll scapegoat A-Rod (please let him still be on the roster) at times, he’ll laugh at Moose’s demands for a personal catcher, and he’ll last two years in New York. But we need those two years to change the feeling in the air.