Monday, October 29, 2007

Say it's so, Joe.

Joe Hollywood
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.


Blogger Michael Pascoe said...

Pal, you beat me to it. Here is what I was going to send you. Want some interesting news? Here it is:
TORRE BUSTING OUT OF THE BRONX ZOO FOR LA-LA-LAND? Does Joe Torre love L.A., or is it all just California dreamin'?

The WESTCHESTER (NY) JOURNAL NEWS reports that the ex-Yankees skipper is expected to become the Dodgers' new manager. And the NEW YORK TIMES is also spreading the news that Torre is Tinseltown-bound.

Recently, the Dodgers were trying to persuade Joe Girardi to take on their managerial duties, but the ex-Marlins leader decided to return to the Bronx.

The team's decision irked job hopeful Don Mattingly, who ended up leaving his position as Yankees bench coach. And further reports say that Donny Baseball would be joining Torre in Chavez Ravine.

This is all news to Grady Little, who's still technically under the employ of Frank & Jamie McCourt. However, the Blue Crew apparently is unhappy with the Little effort done in the clubhouse.

However, no official announcements have been made. Torre paid a visit to David Letterman on Monday, and talked about the rumor worms wriggling out of the Big Apple about his possible move out west:

"There has been a time or two that something that's been in the newspaper that hasn't been true...There's nothing to any of it."

Of course, those shows are usually taped around 5-6 p.m., so a lot could have happened right after Joe bid Paul Shafer farewell. Stay tuned.

Dodgers Could Reunite Torre and Mattingly
Published: October 30, 2007
Joe Torre and Don Mattingly parted ways with the Yankees this month, but they may stay together in a major league dugout next season.
Two major league officials said yesterday that the Los Angeles Dodgers planned to fire Grady Little as their manager and replace him with Torre, who would make Mattingly a coach on his staff. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mattingly joined Torre’s staff as a hitting coach in 2004 and was promoted to bench coach last season. After Torre turned down the Yankees’ one-year contract offer to return as manager, Mattingly pursued the job. He found out yesterday that he had lost out to Joe Girardi.
Yet with another opportunity seeming more and more real, Mattingly was not devastated.
“He was in great spirits,” said one of the officials, who spoke with Mattingly after the Yankees had decided on Girardi. “For what happened, he was in great spirits. He’s confident. He knows he’s good. He knows he’ll manage in the big leagues someday.”
The Dodgers, who were disappointed with their 82-80 finish under Little, had singled out Girardi as a possible replacement. Now they are focusing on Torre, 67, who said after leaving the Yankees that he was not ready to retire.
Mattingly, 46, has ties to the Dodgers’ organization through his son Preston, who was a first-round pick of the team in 2006. The Yankees asked Mattingly to stay with the organization, but he said no.
“Don will use this time to reflect on this experience while considering future family and career options,” said a statement released through Mattingly’s agent, Ray Schulte. “In the meantime, he did inform the Yankees that given the circumstances he won’t accept a coaching position within the organization during 2008.”
Murray Chass contributed reporting.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Michael Pascoe said...

Hey, Tony. I guess you've heard by now. Grady is gone!!! Could this be the beginning of a new Dodger era? What next? A-Rod? I heard tings, I heard tings.

6:13 PM  

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