Heyman Offers Another Perspective

From Jon Heyman’s latest:

Torre can feel hurt if he wants by the take-it-or-leave-it stance of
Yankees’ decisionmakers. But for the record, it should be known now
that their recent offer was actually better than the one discussed in
spring, months before the team bowed out in the first round for a third
straight postseason.

Back then, SI.com has learned, the Yankees and Torre were talking about a one-year $4.5 million extension with Steve Swindal,
the son-in-law who signed Torre to his lucrative $6.4 million-a-year
deal, and Torre was receptive to the offer. But that extension fell
apart after Swindal was arrested for a DWI on Valentine’s Day and
Swindal’s marriage to George Steinbrenner‘s daughter, Jennifer, subsequently disintegrated. The Yankees hierarchy decided it would be best to let all four of its major stars (including A-Rod, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada) play out the season under their current deals.

At
the time, according to people familiar with those talks, Torre told his
bosses that it was his great goal to be able to close out the old
Yankee Stadium.

Yet when his superiors gave him a chance to do
just that last week — at $500,000 more than what had been discussed in
the spring — Torre took it as an insult. An opportunity to close out
the stadium was offered as a one-year extension, but he wanted a second
year that would have guaranteed that he’d open new Yankee Stadium, as
well.

There’s a lot more. Heyman thinks the Yanks made a good-faith offer, and that Randy Levine actually wasn’t the force behind Torre’s ouster. Actually, he doesn’t think it was an ouster at all.

49 comments… add one
  • A one year extension offered during Spring Training would have put Torre on a two-year contract. A one year offer last week is a one year contract. You simply CAN’T compare the two, it’s apples and oranges.

    SF October 23, 2007, 2:45 pm
  • But for the record, it should be known now that their recent offer was actually better than the one discussed in spring, months before the team bowed out in the first round for a third straight postseason.
    Arrgh, this is why I can’t read these articles without getting annoyed. Heyman is either completely uncritical of the difference between a contract extension before a season starts and one after a season ends, he’s dumb, or he’s carrying water for someone. I don’t know which it is (If I had to speculate I’d say it’s a combo of one and three), but this difference is fundamental to the understanding of the Torre situation.

    SF October 23, 2007, 2:53 pm
  • You’re STILL upset about this, SF?
    What’s the difference between a one-year contract and working with one-year left on a contract?
    I actually think Heyman makes a lot of good points. I don’t think the Yankees were thrilled with the notion of bringing him back, but I still find it hilarious that a $5 million offer for a manager can be an “insult” and disingenuous.
    So, after all we’ve read, there are two ways to still read the Torre situation:
    1) What an insult!?
    2) What an offer!?
    If Torre he’d taken the offer he’d still be the Yankees manager. And who’s to say he couldn’t have worked out a Wakefield-type deal? Did Torre recognize how the team was overly generous in his last contract? But he was still insulted? Dude does have a thin skin.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • When he was offered it a year ago, he also hadn’t spent the last week or two reading in the paper how Steinbrenner said he should be fired fi they didn’t make it past the first round. Nor had he had to deal with the very public mulling over the team was doing about whether they wanted him or not.

    rootbeerfloat October 23, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • That might be true, but after last season Torre almost lost his job. Cashman and others talked him out of firing him after the Tigers debacle. Basically, Torre has had to deal with a crazy owner his whole time here.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • But all that talk had died down and it was clear he was returning by the time spring training rolled around. SF is exactly right. Torre said in his press conference it wasn’t about the money, but the years and icnentives. He was willing to take less money to guarantee himself a SECOND year in New York. Not to be extended along year-to-year until a World Series appearance finally vested the second year.

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • The only news in this editorial is the assertion that Torre was receptive to a deal that never got done, according to what “si.com has learned.” There are no quotes from any involved party. The rest is summary reporting.
    Heyman admits to being an ex Torre supporter starting at the end of last season when “the $190 million dollar team didn’t show…his solution was to bat ARod eighth”. Of course he leaves out the fact the Yankees did win game one and that the Tigers had the best pitching staff in the majors, but hey, that’s not nearly as catchy, is it?

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • Batting A-Rod 8th was a pretty awful decision by Torre, AG. It wasn’t the sole reason they lost, but it was lousy managing.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • > but it was lousy managing
    I agree it was a bad decision, but that’s a lazy sound bite.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • I’ll ask again:
    “What’s the difference between a one-year contract and working with one-year left on a contract?”
    I see none except for semantics.
    If Torre continued to get his team to the post-season year after year, I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t have made $5 million every year. He really could have had a job for life.
    Meanwhile, Stengel lost Game 7 of the Series (Mazeroski HR) and wasn’t even given an offer.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • A couple of things I found interesting about the article was his depiction of the team’s fron office. I think Cashman has come away from this unscathed. There is an assumption he was over-ruled, but, perhaps, he wasn’t. Perhaps, he thought this was a reasonable offer that Torre should have taken. I also thought it was interesting that Levine had voted against firing Torre in May. First of all, it shows that there are crazy fucking people in the Yanks front office not named Levine. Fire him in May?! Crazy. But it also shows that Levine is not completely insane and sleazy.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • Well, Pete, if you have a one-year cotnract, then you’re working with ZERO years left on your contract.
    This is why other teams, like the Red Sox, extend their managers the offseason before they have to. It’s a sign of respect. It gives them job security, and it avoids catastrophes like the one we’ve seen in New York.

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 3:46 pm
  • I am not going to argue the specifics of the deal. It was a pay cut, it was filled with incentives, I get it he didn’t like the contract or think he had to prove himself after 12 years. Bottom line is Joe decided to turn it down. I don’t know if we have lost perspective here but Joe worked for the Yankees, the Yankees didn’t work for Joe. Regardless of who you work for you ALWAYS have to prove your worth. Unless of course you own your own company and the only person you have to convince that you are doing a good job is yourself. Joe brought championships to NY in 96, 98, 99 and 2000. Since that time they have lost in 2 WS, surrendered a 3-1 lead in the ALCS (which lead to a team winning that hadn’t won a championship since 1918) and lost numerous ALDS series. If this contract was offered in say 2001, I would be as OUTRAGED as SF, but it’s 2007. Joe was given numerous seasons to show that his way/style of managing still worked and that it had not lost it’s effectiveness. For all you that would like us to believe the offer was not whole hearted or genuine, what if he had taken the offer? The Steinbrenners and the Yankees would have been stuck with a man that according the conspiracy theorists they didn’t want. It just doesn’t make any sense. We should believe that Joe wanted to come back and wanted to close the stadium, but we shouldn’t believe that he was wanted back even though there was an offer? Joe is gone, but the Yankees aren’t. Some people would love for us to believe this will be the Yankees downfall, the beginning of the end…most of those people are Sox fans. The Yankees will be just fine.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 23, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • “This is why other teams, like the Red Sox, extend their managers the offseason before they have to. It’s a sign of respect.”
    Or they publicly blame a manager for an entire series loss. Say what you will about Grady, but Henry and Lucchino let it be known through different writers (Mnookin comes to mind) that Grady Sizemore should shoulder 100% of the blame after the 2003 ALCS. Sometimes management teams act honorably, sometimes not so much.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • ” surrendered a 3-1 lead”
    Trisk, the trauma is still that strong, buddy. But it wasn’t 3-1.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • Grady Sizemore?! That would be Grady Little. Doh!

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • One-year left on a three-year contract is exactly like a one-year contract. Put it this way: Bemoaning all the extra pressure on players when on the one-year contract is exactly the same as having no years left after this one (or even this post-season series).
    “This is why other teams, like the Red Sox, extend their managers the off-season before they have to.”
    That’s not true. Not in the least. In fact, for managers, I’d say it’s much more typical for the contract to run out than for players.
    Meanwhile, Tito is making less in two years than Torre would have made in one year. His deal was extremely generous, but he felt insulted?
    By the way, the other bit of insult – the incentives – were a part of his previous deals. And Tito has them too.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • “and it avoids catastrophes like the one we’ve seen in New York.”
    Catastrophe? You are not going to get Yankee fans to believe your propaganda try as you might. The sky isn’t falling.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 23, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • Sorry you are right, 3-0. My mistake.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 23, 2007, 3:56 pm
  • By the way, when the Sox win the Series, doesn’t Tito deserve to be paid as the highest manager in the game?

    Pete October 23, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • > paid as the highest manager in the game?
    well, he does seem abnormally relaxed in some interviews..

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
  • I’m not the one saying it’s falling, Trisk. I believe your view is the minority one among Yankee fans.
    For the record, barring a World Series win, Grady Little was gone after 2003 anyway. He was a terrible manager who managed to get two capable squads to underperform terribly. That he made such a terrible decision in Game 7 just made the Sox’ PR department’s job a little easier when the time came to sack him.
    I’ve not heard anyone say anything about incentives in Torre’s, Francona’s or anyone else’s deals. They could certainly be there, but I would think we’d have heard more talk about them.

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
  • regarding the classification of the situation as a catastrophe. I hae to say that I have brought up the name James Dolan, so at the very least I’m bracing for the off-season to be catastrophic. It’s a defense mechanism.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • From Cot’s:
    Tito –
    # signed extension 3/06
    * $0.65M bonus at signing ($1.25M total for 06)
    * 07:$1.65M, 08:$1.75M
    * bonuses for making playoffs, winning LDS, LCS, World Series
    Torre-
    # 3 years/$19.2M (2005-07)
    * signed extension 4/04
    * 05:$6.1M, 06:$6.1M, 07:$7M
    * $1M bonus with a World Series victory
    * 2007 salary increased to $7.5M
    * extension also includes 6-year consulting agreement

    Pete October 23, 2007, 4:05 pm
  • Also, what happens when the Yankees make the post-season next year? If they don’t it’s obvious we read the “Torre curse” stories. But if they do, how many writers point out that Torre was expendable?

    Pete October 23, 2007, 4:07 pm
  • Nick –
    The Yankee brass still needs to learn to hold their tongues. It’s actually a lot like how Larry used to run his mouth, and now has learned better.
    But honestly what’s most impressed me is how few leaks there have been out of Yankeeland. Consider: NY writers were absolutely guessing as to what “Torre on the plane” meant. They had no inside moles to tell them. That tells me they’ve tightened their organizational flow chart, and that means a smoother operation (even if they still have work to do on their PR). I don’t expect one of the Steinbrothers will be signing any one in a restaurant this post-season.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • Well, what is that someone in the restaurant is smart?
    Agreed that they need to learn to hold their tongue. I’m not sure I understand why Levine and Hank have decided to take on an aggressive tact in defending themselves.
    Another thing that I find interesting about the article, by the way, is that Heyman claims Torre was willing to take a huge pay-cut to be extended last year. Does that ring true to anyone?

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • Nick –
    That’s exactly the point being glossed over – if Torre was willing to acknowledge and take a cut before the year, then perhaps he’s the one being disingenuous?
    Otherwise, I think the brass just isn’t used to seeing their names in the paper. So they inject them there until they realize how hard it is to get good press. Larry learned that too the hard way. Now he just does his job and lets Theo take the blame and credit.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 4:23 pm
  • > it’s obvious we read the “Torre curse” stories
    That will quite a few years. Yankees curses are currently reserved for Coney and Nelly.
    > how many writers point out that Torre was expendable?
    Every one that loves a truism.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • “This is why other teams, like the Red Sox, extend their managers the offseason before they have to. It’s a sign of respect.”
    Come back and say this to me when you have a manager who has been with you for 12 years and who has had less success with that team in the past 7 years than he did in his first 5.
    You may never get there because you may never be able to hold on to a manager for 12 years. Not a lot of teams do these days.

    IronHorse (yf) October 23, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • That’s a good point, IH. Even still, Tito won a series and is on his way to another. Shouldn’t he get at least a three-year extension this off-season? If not, he’s on the last year of a very cheap two-year extension (with incentives).
    But you’re right. I can’t see the Sox holding to Tito if he consistently led the team to the ALDS but no further. They’d look for a change too.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 5:25 pm
  • // Grady Little was gone after 2003 anyway. He was a terrible manager who managed to get two capable squads to underperform terribly. //
    Agreeing 100% with Paul here. Little stank. The Sox lost something like 22 (or was it 28?) one-run games that year, many of them late, and most of them featuring mind-boggling stupid moves by Grady “My Gut Calls the Shots” Little.
    The Sox really should have won the 2003 World Series. They had a better team in ’03 than ’04, even. Little is the rare example of a manager who can alter a team’s fortunes significantly for the worse.
    His face and demeanor became to me, during his tenure, the very embodiment of stupidity.

    Hudson October 23, 2007, 5:26 pm
  • // You may never get there because you may never be able to hold on to a manager for 12 years. //
    Wasn’t there some guy a while back from the Boston metro area who said that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds? ;^)

    Hudson October 23, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • By that logic, weren’t the Yankees terrible in one-run games this year?

    Pete October 23, 2007, 5:30 pm
  • I fail to see how LDS finishes are Torre’s fault when the Yankees lost to a stellar Detroit pitching staff in 2006 and had no pitching themselves in 2007.
    How close were the Yankees to winning the Series in 2001 and 2003? Or going to the World Series in 2004? So close that but for the collective difference of one foot probably, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Should Torre have managed Tony Clark’s ground-rule double back into the park in Game 4?
    Not to say Torre doesn’t have faults. The A-Rod decision was atrocious. He can’t manage a pen, etc. etc. But I just fail to see how leading a team to the playoffs is less important than what happens once you get there. Isn’t the cliche of our era, “The playoffs are a crapshoot”?

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 5:34 pm
  • “Feeding the Monster” runs down the sins of the Little Era pretty well. I’d recommend a read.

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 5:36 pm
  • The Sox really should have won the 2003 World Series. They had a better team in ’03 than ’04, even. Little is the rare example of a manager who can alter a team’s fortunes significantly for the worse.
    Completely agree. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about 2003 (after all, things have been pretty good since then), but when I do it still pisses me off.

    Jackie (SF) October 23, 2007, 5:36 pm
  • Same here, Jackie. 2003 is definitely the modern fan’s 1978. Aside from the obvious parallels, that team was going to win the World Series that year, and Grady Little completely and forever destroyed it. We would almost certainly be rooting for a third Series title in five years if Terry Francona had been the manager that season. I have no doubt. And I can’t really think of that season without feeling bitter. (Of course, the next year has helped quite a lot of that. Still, feelings linger, you know).

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 5:45 pm
  • > claims Torre was willing to take a huge pay-cut to be extended last year. Does that ring true to anyone?
    Nick – there have been plenty of articles that said Torre would have been amenable to a pay cut in the most recent Florida meeting, but wanted another year, so not knowing what “huge” means, yes, it sounds plausible. Regarding the “si.com has learned”, it would be nice to have an on-the-books quote from a party directly involved with that negotiation as opposed to what seems to be being reported as an insider tip.
    > That’s exactly the point being glossed over – if Torre was willing to acknowledge and take a cut before the year, then perhaps he’s the one being disingenuous?
    Pete, it may be the point of the article, but I don’t know if it’s exact or valid, or that it is being glossed over in general discussion. It certainly isn’t glossed over in the article, when insinuation drips from every word of Heyman’s lead line, “Joe Torre spins a great story.” The article used the terms “for the record”; you paraphrased with what Heyman really meant by asking if Torre may be “disingenuous”, but “for the record,” Heyman is writing about a pre-season deal that never got done. SF had the nugget of this article nailed in the first two comments he made.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • Well, 2003 was the infamous “Jeff Weaver” game while Rivera waited for a chance to close that never came.
    2004 they should have been bunting on Schilling.
    Didn’t they lose in 2005 because of some collision in CF?
    It’s hard to argue that Torre wasn’t given a great team. The pitching could certainly have been better, but name one reliever that Torre has developed besides Rivera in 12 years. And their bullpen continues to be a problem.
    Again, those one-run games this year. I thought the Yankees were really bad.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 5:50 pm
  • Trisk, I am not outraged by anything but a seeming inability to understand simple business principles.
    Understanding that there is a qualifiable and quantifiable difference between receiving an offer of a contract extension with one year remaining on it and receiving a new one year contract after the completion of another contract is just one of those principles.
    I am honestly flabbergasted that there is even a question about whether or not these two scenarios are different. To me it is like questioning whether or not there is global warming, frankly, it’s as close to scientific as you can get. In one case a contract goes from a one year deal to a two year deal, and an employee gains all the benefits of that security. In the second scenario they are given a brand new one year deal with no security. The timing and context is of vital importance in distinguishing the difference, but the difference is inarguable.
    I honestly wish that people would not mistake my frustration about the business-related discussions we have had at this site with any judgment about whether or not Torre should have been retained. They are not related. If someone wants to start a “Would Torre have been the right manager for the team next year” thread that’s where you’d find my thoughts on that. It’s a separate issue, a baseball discussion, and one for which I have offered spare opinions with no outrage whatsoever.

    SF October 23, 2007, 5:52 pm
  • I still don’t see how a one-year deal is different from working on a contract with only one year left. He worked this year without any future security. Why should it matter if 2008 wasn’t different?
    And by “glossing over”, I meant in this discussion. Few have paused to say “Wait, he would have taken a one-year extension, at a pay cut?
    See, one of insulting bits was supposed to be the pay cut. How many folks have hammered on the percent reduction angle? The multiple years is another issue.
    The other “insulting” bit was supposed to be the incentives. Except then we find out he already had them, as do other managers.
    Okay, so maybe he was offended because he wasn’t offered two years. That’s the only thing that hasn’t been answered. But, the “extra” 7-9 million he got (against every other manager in the game) over the preceding three years should have helped with the disrespect card.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 6:04 pm
  • I still don’t see how a one-year deal is different from working on a contract with only one year left
    This simply isn’t the concept in question. See my first two posts, as Gerb refers to.
    1) One year deal ADDED to existing one year deal at the time, metamorphosing said contract into a TWO YEAR DEAL.
    2) One year deal.
    It’s all about the timing, conceptually.

    SF October 23, 2007, 6:09 pm
  • “so not knowing what “huge” means, yes, it sounds plausible”
    Heyman’s piece suggests a $2.5 million pay-cut.
    Anyway, Heyman is one of those writers who always seems to write bold statements based on insider info. I’m not quite sure he’s ever truly right though. Is he reliable?

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 6:26 pm
  • I understand your point, SF. My question is more for Torre’s logic.
    1) The pay itself couldn’t have been insulting, because he was willing to agree to that same pay.
    2) The incentives weren’t insulting, cause he already had them.
    3) Working on one year deal couldn’t have been insulting, because effectively, that was his 2007.
    So, the only thing he could claim to be insulted by, without being a hypocrite, is the lack of a two-year deal. And I’m sure the Yankees had their reasons for not offering one. That’s likely the real dividing line – Yanks offer two years, even at a reduced pay, and he stays. The rest is mere hyperbole and spin.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 6:33 pm
  • Pete, at best you are cherry picking facts, while making statements as fact that are not.
    > The pay itself couldn’t have been insulting, because he was willing to agree to that same pay
    That’s supposition. MAY have been willing; we’ll never know since the deal was not signed.
    > The incentives weren’t insulting, cause he already had them
    Different incentives on a different contract.
    > Working on one year deal couldn’t have been insulting
    He was the one the tail of an existing contract, not a new accepting a new one
    > the only thing he could claim to be insulted by, without being a hypocrite … The rest is mere hyperbole and spin.
    The logic doesn’t pass muster, and one can’t put those two statements in one argument without hyperbole and spin as well as a heap of questionable conjecture.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 6:44 pm
  • Dude had a $1 million incentive for winning the World Series. That’s a fact and looks awfully the same to me. Where’s his outrage that he didn’t need that extra bit of motivation? Where’s Tito’s outrage for all his incentives for not only each round of the playoffs, but also making the playoffs?
    Tail end of a contract versus a one-year deal is effectively the same. He talked about how it wouldn’t be fair to his players. How was it fair this year? The added “pressure” is no different. He was just as vulnerable as he was last year.
    As for the previous offer, who knows? But he did say money wasn’t an issue.
    I’ll take away from this that Torre wanted two years and the Yanks were only going to offer one. For as much as many folks want to spin this one way or the other, for me, it’s as simple as that.
    Meanwhile, I have a hard time seeing the offer as disingenuous. Torre had the option of taking at least $5 million in salary next year. No employer in their right mind offers that out if they don’t mean it, especially because it’s more than Torre would have made any where else.

    Pete October 23, 2007, 7:02 pm
  • I certainly don’t think it was a disngenuous offer or one they KNEW would be rejected. I think at least some of them at least were very surprised he rejected it. More to the point, if they wanted him to walk, this was a very uncertain way to accomplish that and I don’t think they would have taken an uncertain path if that’s in fact what they wanted to have happen all along.
    I do think however that there is a difference between being in the final year of a multi-year contract, which is an inevitable place to be at some point unless you are a Supreme Court Justice or the President of Egypt, and being offered a one-year deal. Yes, both of them come with the same sence of finality, but many managers would be much more willing to take that as part of a multi-year deal where they get to prove their worth over more than the ups and downs of one season than they would be willing to take it as a year-to-year deal.

    IronHorse (yf) October 23, 2007, 7:38 pm
  • Two things, aside from the merits (or lack of them) about the deal itself, that should not be ignored:
    1. The non-negotiation stance the Yankees took before Torre even got to the table. If you truly want a man back, wouldn’t you be willing to negotiate for him? At least hear what it is he wants?
    2. The two weeks preceding the discussion, begun with George’s unhelpful comments. Granted, he does not seem to have been in control of the situation, but rather than quickly talk to Torre after the season was over, even if just to say, “Hang tight, we want you back, let’s talk,” they holed up, let him twist and then came at him with an offer that featured a pay cut, no job security and a carrot-stick scenario that clearly was more pronounced than in Torre’s previous contract, and THEN told him he could take it or leave it.
    So while every aspect of the contract MAY be defensible — and I’m not sure it is — the handling of the contract seems to allow only two plausible explanations: They didn’t want him and thought they could get away without having to say that, or they made a mistake of such mammoth proportions that Torre isn’t the only one who should be leaving the organization.

    Paul SF October 23, 2007, 9:32 pm

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