I know I'm in the minority here, but I am putting the blame for the Yankees woes this season squarely on the shoulders of Joe Torre. I realize he's won a whole bunch of World Series with the Yanks, but that was then, this is now. Back then, Torre did a lot with a little. Remember guys like Scott Brosius, Joe Girardi, and Jim Leyritz. They were all heroes back in the day for those great Yankee teams, and they are all bums other than that. And now for the past six seasons Torre has had a lot and done so very little. Yeah they make it to the playoffs every year, but they should with the amount of money they spend. Personally, I think this year's Yankee team had the talent to win the World Series. It's just that Torre didn't utilize the talent properly. Everyone can say how it was A-Rod's fault, but the bottom line is that A Rod felt way too much pressure in the fourth spot to succeed. Rodriguez is clearly the best player on the Yankees, no matter what anyone wants to say about Jeter. The bottom line is that when A Rod is rolling, the Yankees are too. I thought it was ridiculous how Torre moved A Rod down to sixth and then eighth in the order against the Tigers. That's how you reward your best hitter for batting .380 in September? In addition, there's Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano. Wright was a 16 game winner before he came to the Yanks from the Braves. Leo Mazzone clearly did something that worked, and Wright consistently pitched 5 strong innings a game. Yet, somehow he was always unsuccessful. As a manager, it is your job to put your players in the best situation to succeed. And with Wright and A Rod I felt like that never happened. Then there's Pavano, who clearly has been a huge bust. But you still don't call out a player like that to the media. Here's a guy who could be a solid pitcher for you next season, and now he's alienated from the rest of the clubhouse. Not to mention how Torre is notorious for decimating a bullpen. Farnsworth, Procter, Villone and Rivera all missed time over the course of the regular season due to being overworked by Torre.
But, when it came down to it I think this team was just totally mismanaged. This wasn't like thoe teams from the 90's where Torre was mister laid back and the veterans just did their business. From listening to the Yankees, I feel like this is a team that wanted to be challenged by their managers. Intense personalities like Giambi, Sheffield, Johnson and Jeter want to be challenged. They perform better that way. This team clearly had chinks in its armor judging from comments in that SI article a ways back. And by not addressing them directly, Torre let the problem fester. I think getting rid of Torre is the best direction for the Yankees to go in right now. The team they have right now is good enough to win the World Series in 2007. I would pick up Mussina's option, but only if he is willing to sign for 2-3 years. And I would let Sheff go. They have Andy Phillips in the system, who I think would do a lot for their chemistry at first base. This World Series drought has been due to so many different factors. So many players have come through that Yankee clubhouse, so many teams have ended their season, but one thing has remained the same: Joe Torre. In the words of the great Bret Hart, "Enough is enough and it's time for a change."