Saturday, October 13, 2007

Managing the odds

Hey gang:
As the seemingly never-ending drama of who will be sitting in the manager's seat at Yankee Stadium next spring continues, there have been some interesting names that have surfaced.
So here are MY odds as to who the next (if there is a next -- the suspense builds) Yankee manager will be.

Tony LaRussa (20-1 odds)
LaRussa is undoubtedly one of the premier managers in baseball, with more than 2,000 wins to his credit. I believe he ranks third in all-time managerial wins, but the one thing he has not done is manage on the big stage in New York.
There is a big difference managing in Oakland and St. Louis than in the Big Apple -- the biggest difference dealing with the rough, numerous New York media. There is even a bigger difference managing for the A's and the Cardinals, where making the playoffs is a good season. Managing for George Steinbrenner is a completely different animal -- and I don't think LaRussa is willing to take that leap.

Joe Girardi (7-1 odds)
Girardi, with his pair of World Series championships is beloved by Yankee fans and would represent a definite change in style from that of Joe Torre. Although he was bench coach under Torre for one season, his one season managing the Florida Marlins proved he is very-much an aggressive-minded coach, who will look for ways to scratch and claw for a run as opposed to waiting for the three-run blast.
That style could have been beneficial to the Yanks this offseason, but with the veteran-laden team they will still most likely have next season, Girardi might not be the best fit for this club.

Don Mattingly (2-1 odds)
"Donnie Baseball" served as Torre's bench coach this past season and by all accounts was being groomed as the heir apparent for the managerial job. He's as smart a baseball guy as you'll find and his style is seemingly much closer to Torre than Girardi.
His problem is lack of experience. There have been many wonderful assistants -- in many sports -- that have flopped as the head man. Going from the No. 2 guy to the top dog is a completely different experience and I just don't believe one of year as bench coach will have him ready to lead a team that will once again be expected to win it all or have the season called a disappointment.

Joe Torre (2-5 odds)
I know Steinbrenner's edict basically said Joe's gone if the Yankees don't get to the ALCS, but the mere fact that Torre has not been given the official heave-ho nearly a week after the season could be shown as a good sign. We all know the Boss of old would have had Torre canned before he finished his Game 4 post-game press conference.
Torre has guided the Yankees to the playoffs the last 12 years -- and although the last seven have ended in disappointment -- just getting there IS an accomplishment. His level-headedness while dealing with a demanding boss, as well as an equally-demanding media, should account for something.
Although there is no proof to my conclusion, I believe cooler heads will prevail when the Yankee brass meet next week in Florida. And when the smoke clears, Torre will be signed to a two-year (with a club option for a third) deal to remain in pinstripes.
When it comes to the Yankees, however, we all know stranger things have happened.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

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