Yeah, I know it's been awhile. I've been wrapped up with the new gig at the FanHouse and shirking my duties to the horse that brung me. For that I'm deeply sorry and will try my best to make up for the long absence. What better place to start making up for lost time than with the Yankees.
There are all kinds of answers to why the Yankees lost in four games to the Cleveland Indians. The starting pitching was abysmal, the lineup went colder than the proverbial witch's tit and the Indians played great baseball, especially in clutch situations. Alex Rodriguez wasn't the reason why, despite what the back pages might tell you, nor was Joe Torre, despite what the owner might tell you, but the loss may well cost the team each of them.
Why in the world would Rodriguez want to come back to this team, outside of money? Why would he want to come back to a place where leading the league in home runs and RBI, carrying the team on his back and winning the MVP award isn't enough to stop the speculation that he was the reason the team flopped in the playoffs. Maybe on the Red Sox or Mets there could be that much put on one player's shoulders but otherwise why not just take your money, play your game and enjoy adulation and respect rather than the cutting remarks of newspapermen and fans. The Yankees should do everything in their power to keep him - those offensive failures aren't going to disappear if A-Rod does - but I wouldn't stay if there was another fair harbor.
As for Torre, I've grown less and less happy with his game-management skills but I don't doubt for a second that he's the best manager for the off-field rigamarole that follows this team around. Plenty of good teams have gone into the tank with less thrown at them than the Yankees faced this season and discounting Torre's role in steering them through rough seas is done with peril. He doesn't "deserve" to be fired but if the team is truly turning a page, an inescaple canard if you read papers or the web, watch TV or listen to the radio then it probably is time for Torre to go.
If you are going to go with Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy in major roles and continue to build from within they why not bring in someone new to build with. I don't know that Don Mattingly's that guy and whoever comes next will be forced to live up to the impossibly high standards Torre set over the past dozen years but they could grow with their players to return to similar heights.
They just need to be prepared for some rocky seas. Young pitchers experience growing pains under the best of circumstances and if the Bombers devote themselves to living through them may not result in a playoff berth. That's hard to swallow after 13 straight Octobers but its true. The one thing they can't do is half-ass their way through the process. Picking up a veteran here and there to fill holes might make things easier in the short term but it doesn't make any sense. Taking a step backward this year will allow two or more steps forward, that's what the team needs otherwise the gap between championships will just keep on growing.