Here’s the scenario. Girardi gets a knock-out offer from the Cubs. One that the Yanks could match, but choose to pass on. Girardi, despite his loyalty to the Yanks, feels the tug of going home and is enticed by the opportunity to bring the Windy City it’s first World Series championship in over 100 years, perhaps the most elusive Holy Grail in all of Baseball. This opens the door for Torre to return as Yankee manager, and he emerges as the best candidate. Bobby Valentine is well thought of by the Yankee brass, but has always had difficulty dealing with people in front offices and the media. Pinella is both too old and too ‘old school’ to work well with Cashman. Tony Pena is a terrific coach, but lacks the skill set for the top job in a city like New York. Donnie Baseball and Buck Showalter just took other jobs. Don’t forget that Hal Stienbrenner was the one who wanted Joe to be there yesterday. He may be smoothing the path for Torre as plan B if re-signing Girardi falls through. What was once thought to be impossible is now at least plausible, Torre returns to the Bronx as their manger for the 2011 season.
This made the rounds yesterday, but frankly I think it’s all far fetched. First, don’t read too much into the Yanks inviting Torre back for what was essentially a public funeral service for George Stienbrenner. Anyone who’s ever been involved in planning a funeral knows that you invite people for all sorts of reasons, giving priority to the wishes of the deceased and celebrating his life over any personal differences which may still remain among the living. George was a person who made loads of enemies, but would eventually make up with most of them. Steinbrenner made up with Dave Winfield of all people, whose personal battle ended up with George being banned from Baseball. Whatever appeared in Joe’s book is a tempest in a teapot compared to what went on between him and Winfield. Joe was Steinbrenner’s manager through his greatest run of success as Yankee owner, George would have wanted Torre there. That doesn’t mean the people who run the Yanks (namely Cashman and Randy Levine) have any desire to see Joe return on an everyday basis.
Next, despite their photo-op yesterday, the bad blood between Cashman and Torre is far from resolved. Torre’s main point in his book was that he and Cashman had drifted apart, with Brian going down the advanced stat path and Torre seeing the game as ‘having a heartbeat’. Torre believes in words like ‘clutch’ and ‘guts’ which Cashman thinks are small samples and utter bullshit, respectively. This isn’t a problem when Billy Beane hires someone like Ken Macha or Art Howe, but it clearly was an issue between these two men. Brian will have much to say about who the next Yankee manager will be, and it’s hard to see him and Torre working together after all that was said in that book. A working relationship requires a certain amount of trust, especially in a big media town like New York where distractions can come from all directions, and these two simply don’t have it.
If you want to sell me that Monday night opened the door for Torre’s number 6 being retired, I’ll buy it. But for a return to the dugout? I just don’t see it happening.