Say it's so, Joe.
LA hopes to sign Torre
by George King
New York Post
October 29, 2007 -- If divorce proceedings between Grady Little and the Dodgers go the distance, as many expect, The Post has learned Joe Torre has been targeted as the manager to heal a fractured Los Angeles clubhouse.
According to two people with knowledge of the Dodgers' universe, the club and Little are talking about a buyout that would leave the manager's office in Chavez Ravine vacant for Torre to inherit.
Torre, who wants to manage again, is interested in talking to the Dodgers if the job becomes available.
Since none of Little's coaches is signed for next year and he is ($1 million and an undisclosed option for 2009), there has been speculation Little is out. And since the underachieving Dodgers have a dysfunctional clubhouse with veterans and youngsters feuding, Torre is the ideal person to put the room back together.
Last week it was reported the Dodgers offered Joe Girardi a job - either as bench coach to replace Dave Jauss, who is a candidate for the Pirates' managing gig, or to take over for Little. When Girardi supposedly turned the Dodgers down, many took that as a sign Girardi is in line to succeed Torre in The Bronx.
According to several people, the Dodgers inquired about Torre's interest before he rejected a one-year deal for $5 million with a chance to earn $3 million in incentives and stay with the Yankees.
If Torre replaces Little, it will be a popular move based on the reception Torre received at an Elton John concert in Las Vegas Saturday night. John introduced Billie Jean King and Torre from the stage. The crowd at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace gave Torre a standing ovation and the Dodger fans on hand serenaded Torre with “Come coach L.A."
“Knowing [Dodger owner] Frank McCourt, it could be real," a baseball executive said of the Dodgers' fascination with Torre.
While it would cost considerably more money to land Torre ($12 million for three years?) than keep Little, the Dodgers need to retake the L.A. market. The Angels are a much better team, and owner Arte Moreno has successfully marketed his club as an L.A. brand despite playing in Anaheim.
The hiring of Torre, a former Angels broadcaster with a fondness for Southern California, would go a long way in giving the Dodgers star power that is required in a star-driven town.
Should the move be made, Torre could raid the Yankees' for his coaching staff, since none is under contract past Wednesday. Texas has an interest in hitting coach Kevin Long. Field coordinator Rob Thomson has drawn interest as a bench coach or base coach.
Dodger hitting coach Bill Mueller, who replaced Eddie Murray during the season, is likely headed back to the front office.
That would open a spot for Long, who Torre believes did an outstanding job in his initial season in the The Bronx this past year.