Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Torre Article

From The New York Sun,

Joe Torre has for many years been lauded as an operational genius, mostly because it's in the nature of things for a manager who's won four World Series to be held up as a great leader. But it's also because his tactical and strategic failings in everything from in-game management to setting up a sustainable bullpen rotation are evident to all, including the paid shills who work for the Yankees' broadcast network.

It would be a lot more accurate to say that Torre is a manager of average strengths and weaknesses whose skill in dealing with organizational politics, handling egos, and dealing with the press make him particularly well-suited to his situation, and whose weaknesses in judging talent and defining roles for players who aren't superstars make him particularly ill-suited to it. On balance, any manager with Torre's record must be judged a success, and he'll earn his plaque in Cooperstown one day, but he deserves a lot more blame for the Yankees' various problems than he ever gets.

Just look at this weekend's series against Oakland. In place of the injured Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, Torre started Melky Cabrera and Bernie Williams, and in yesterday's lineup found room for Bubba Crosby at the expense of Andy Phillips, who hasn't hit a lick yet, but is twice as good a hitter as any of the Yankees' corps of no-hit scrub outfielders.