Looking Back At The "Worst Managerial Decision Ever"

On this date in 2003, Josh Beckett pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Marlins to a 2-0 victory and a World Series championship against the Yankees. What many Yankees fans remember most vividly about that series was a decision made by Joe Torre in Game 4. In an article about Tony LaRussa’s interesting evening in Game 5 last night, Jay Jaffe referenced Torre’s gaffe:

If a Hall of Fame-bound manager has had a worse night in a nine-inning World Series game—for the sake of argument, we’ll chalk up Joe Torre’s decision to pitch Jeff Weaver in 2003 as an extra-inning folly—then I haven’t seen it.

Let’s take a look at Torre’s decision and see whether it was quite as awful as we remember.

After losing Game 1 by a 3-2 score, the Yankees strung together consecutive 6-1 victories and were looking to take a stranglehold on the series in Game 4. Roger Clemens was matched up against future pain in the butt Carl Pavano, and Pavano stuck it to the Yankees by pitching 8 innings of one run ball.… Click here to read the rest

C'Torre, Destroyer of Arms

With Scott Proctor back on the Yankees’ roster, I’ve been looking back at the way the club used relievers at the end of the Joe Torre era. Torre had a reputation for burning through his best arms, leaning on any decent reliever he could find for as long as the player was reasonably effective and then discarding him when the inevitable arm troubles popped up. I went looking through the numbers assuming that the nature of Torre’s bullpen usage had probably become exaggerated with time, but the data shows that Torre was about as abusive as people claim.

I compared Torre’s last 4 seasons to Girardi’s first 4 (the last of which still has 16 games left) to try and see how the usage patterns differed. Here is how it breaks down:

[table id=53 /]

As you can see, Torre had no qualms about using relievers for 70+ innings or 70+ appearances, something that Girardi has simply been unwilling to do.… Click here to read the rest

Are Yankees Fans Ready For Torre's Return?

It looks like the Yankees and Joe Torre have finally buried the hatchet (via Bryan Hoch):

Though the relationship between Torre and the Yankees seemed frosty at first, especially after Torre and co-author Tom Verducci collaborated on a book, “The Yankee Years,” the thawing process began last year when Torre attended the unveiling of Steinbrenner’s Monument Park tribute last year.

Torre also said that he has been invited to this year’s Old-Timer’s Day festivities at Yankee Stadium on June 26, an event he plans to attend.

“It means a lot,” Torre said. “Without this opportunity here, my whole professional career would have been different. This was the main part of my career — I know I played for a long time and had some memorable times, but the time in New York, I’ll never forget what it meant.”

Although it has been over 3 years since Torre left and his book was released, I know many Yankees fans who are not quite ready to welcome Torre back with open arms.… Click here to read the rest

What would Joe Torre do?

With all the hoopla circulating around the state of the Yankees’ 2011 relief core, I couldn’t help but reminisce about bullpen management of years past. Specifically, “WWJD?” No, I’m not referring to the preferences of a long-bearded, destined-to-suffer-for-all-mankind-and-savior-of-some Jesus; I’m talking about former Yankee skipper Joe Torre.

As we are all well aware, popular opinion suggests Torre had a propensity for systematically obliterating each ligament within the throwing appendages that were his pitchers’ arms via excessive workload early on in the season. But was that actually the case or simply another example of mainstream hyperbole? Let’s take a look at some of Torre’s favorite relievers victims and contemplate whether there’s some truth to be found here.

Note: I apologize for the complexity of the table (and all those damn numbers!), but I spent quite a while compiling the data, so now you’ll just have to suffer through it.

The first point to consider is simple enough to understand and the outcome is somewhat predictable; compare the innings pitched of any given reliever under Torre’s supervision against their respective prior seasons’ totals.… Click here to read the rest

Does Joe's return open door for 'Yankee Years Part 2'?

Wake up Joe, you're the Yankee manager again

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.… Click here to read the rest

Does Joe’s return open door for ‘Yankee Years Part 2’?

Wake up Joe, you're the Yankee manager again

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.… Click here to read the rest

Burying the Hatchet with Torre

Watching the Steinbrenner memorial ceremonies last night, it was hard to tell who got the bigger ovation from the crowd, Torre or Mattingly. Both were fan favorites, and the music was so loud that it was difficult to parse out one ovation over the other. Suffice to say both were welcomed back warmly by the Yankee faithful, as was to be expected.

I wasn’t at last night’s game, but if I was I would have sat on my hands when Torre waved to the crowd. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was very unhappy with the way Joe chose to leave the Yanks. I think it’s inarguable that the Yanks made Torre, not the other way around. Especially when you look at his history as manager prior to joining the Yanks. The reasoning for turning down the Yankee offer he offered up at his press conference struck me as embattled, clear signs the relationship was deteriorating for years.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees stage biggest ninth-inning comeback since April 2007, beat Dodgers 8-6

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had thrown the towel in on this game once the Yankees fell behind 5-0. Prior to last night the biggest deficit the team had overcome was three runs. In fact, I even started drafting my game recap while the game was still underway, focusing heavily on the 2010 Yankees’ seeming inability to rally this year. Feel free to read it; it’s quite amusing in light of the surprise Yankee win. Needless to say, I’m not unhappy to have to have scrapped it and start over.

So back to that 5-0 deficit. Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw had been cruising, and the only blemish on his record was a two-run bomb off the bat of the suddenly resurgent Alex Rodriguez. Kershaw tossed seven innings and struck out five, while walking zero — this was especially surprising, given that Kershaw had led the NL in BB/9 prior to this weekend’s action.

Despite allowing five runs, Andy Pettitte wasn’t terrible and really only had himself to blame.… Click here to read the rest

Did Torre lose last night's game on Saturday?

Yankee fans have long had issues with Joe Torre’s bullpen management. Not trusting anyone other than his Closer, using his primary set up guys in games where he has a big lead. It’s as if he has no concept of leverage, or he manages scared. Maybe a little of both. Last night we saw Torre go to his #1 option in the bullpen in a non-Save situation, and have it blow up in his face. The fact that it wasn’t a Save situation may have played into this, as many Closers are (for some unknown reason) bad in those spots. Even the Great Mariano struggled in non-Save situations as recently as last year. But what was vintage Torre was using his Closer the night before, throwing 19 pitches in a 9-4 game that was for all intents and purposes over. By wasting Broxton in that game, he now has to go back-to-back with him in order to save last night’s game.… Click here to read the rest