Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ready to Hit Eject?

The NY Times, The Post, ESPN Radio, and probably even The Onion, are reporting that Steinbrenner is on the brink of firing Joe Torre. The question, should he be fired? Yes, its time for a change. OK, but is April the right time and who fills in? More questions, than answers.

For those who think its unfair to blame Torre since the Yanks have been ravaged by injuries and an ineffective bullpen, but you can make similar arguments for other managers. For instance, look at 2006, is it Buck Showalter’s problem that Texas never acquired pitching, forget dealing with injuries. Or did Ken Macha fail by continually making the playoffs and piece together winning seasons. Or the Cubs, Prior and Wood, need we say more. These managers were still fired.

Injuries aside, the team has been lethargic, the bullpen has been battered and overused, and while the offense has scored they have failed in some clutch spots. How long is he going to stick with Abreu in the 3 spot with an average barely above .230. After awhile taking a lot of pitches does not mean that much. Obviously his use of the bullpen has been questioned. But I think he needs to go because he is not motivating them to play hard. The Yanks need a fresh face, just like they need a fresh arm. Someone to light a fire under them. Sit players who are not performing. Juggle the lineup.

Who is the replacement? Odds are Girardi or Mattingly are next in line. My choice is Girardi. The team needs a contrast from Torre’s style, and Girardi’s hard-nosed attitude may be the answer. Plus, he would bring more of an outside perspective than Mattingly could, which may make it easier to rock the boat.

Does firing Torre mean the end of the Yankees season? Not exactly. Without a full analysis on performances after in-season firings, one blog reports about 11% of changes leading to playoff appearances. There is Cito Gaston in Toronto and the many Yankee teams of the late ‘70’s and early ’80’s. With the pitching getting healthy, this change would not eliminate the Yanks from the playoff conversation. But since there is no telling how the team reacts (see the Knicks after Isiah Thomas’ contract extension), it could just easily go downhill quick.

If the Sox sweep the series I think this becomes a very real possibility, and I’m not going to be upset about it.


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