So Joe Torre’s job is once again in jeopardy. The Yanks are scuffling and George Steinbrenner, who one New York talk show host suggested was beginning to suffer from dementia, is ready to quit sharpening his ax and start chopping.

Speaking on behalf of Red Sox Nation, George, I’d be much obliged if you did.

The Yankees are a mess right now and it has virtually nothing to do with Joe Torre. While he has made some questionable decisions with his bullpen, New York’s pitching is in shambles because of age, injuries and some arrogance in the front office. Torre has had no choice but to over-work his bullpen because Brian Cashman went into the season confident that an aging Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte and injured Chien-Ming Wang were enough to carry a starting rotation, at least until Roger Clemens rode in on his white horse.

Cashman also assumed that the offense could bludgeon everyone into submission by the sixth inning. Meanwhile, the catalyst of that offense, Johnny Damon, is starting to pay for a dozen years of collisions with various walls and Damian Jackson. And now that Alex Rodriguez has come back to earth, it’s a lineup that is certainly no better than the one that has disappeared at the most inopportune times the last couple of Octobers.

The Yankees are playing .400 ball right now and the focus in the press and in the Tampa think tank Steinbreener calls home is Torre. Sure, that makes it a little uncomfortable in the Bronx right now, but imagine if Torre was finally removed from the equation.

Pure chaos is my guess. These players aren’t going to play harder for Don Mattingly or Joe Girardi (in fact, Girardi’s nose-to-the-grindstone approach might be too much of a dramatic shift for such a veteran, ahem, old, team). But the blame finger the New York fans and media wield so proudly will then point at the players, and we’ve seen how well A-Rod, Mussina, Pavano et. al. react when they face that kind of scrutiny.

For years, Torre has had a deft touch when dealing with all of the distractions that inherently swirl around the Bronx. Imagine having to deal with Steinbrenner, the media, talk show callers and wise-guy Yankee fans on the street and still manage the team that every opponent has circled on their calendars. It’s no wonder Torre is always the only Yankee to get a sincere round of applause from the Fenway faithful. Red Sox fans know the anti-Zimmer when they see him.

Torre has shown he can steer the Yankees through stormy waters. If Steinbrenner can wait for people to get healthy and/or reinforcements to arrive, Torre will probably have the team ready to make a run in June or July.

If The Boss makes his manager a scapegoat, though, the Yankees won’t just be chasing the Red Sox, but the Blue Jays and probably either the Orioles or Devil Rays come the Fourth of July.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.