Re: Terry lost this one
posted at 5/22/2011 7:03 AM EDT
I wonder if the Doom-mongers would roast Tito if he pulled a Joe Torre?
April 15, 2011ι By JOEL SHERMAN
1. Brian Cashman defended himself yesterday against reliever abuse during his Yankees GM tenure by essentially saying, “it wasn’t me, it was Joe Torre.” I know that Torre’s bullpen use – or overuse – was certainly a tension point in the GM-manager relationship in those years. And Cashman explained yesterday that he confronted Torre on it, plus also pitching coaches, agents and the relievers themselves. He wanted the over-reliance on the hot set-up man to stop.
The top nine single-season appearance totals for Yankees relievers all occurred during the Torre years: Paul Quantrill 86 in 2004, Scott Proctor 83 in 2006, Tom Gordon 80 in 2004, Gordon 79 in 2005, Mike Stanton 79 in 2002, Steve Karsay 78 in 2002, Jeff Nelson 77 in 1997, Luis Vizcaino 77 in 2007 and Stanton 76 in 2001.
None of those relievers were really ever the same after those big innings totals; so they really did give their arms to Torre and the Yankees. It was wrong. But so would be looking at the problem completely retrospectively.
I think Torre should have stopped overusing the hot reliever of the moment. But I understood why he did. Think of the era. Steroids and offense were rampant. No lead ever really felt safe. George Steinbrenner for most of this period was vibrant and in charge of the Yankees. So Torre’s job, regardless of his success, was always in peril. The penalty for the Yankees manager overseeing a blown game then felt so much larger than it is now. So Joe Girardi can – wisely it should be added – have a rule that no set-up man is used more than two days in a row. But if Torre followed that rule and used the 10th and 11th man on his staff at a time when bats could not be easily quelled, well, the price would have been steep.
Does this forgive Torre for not rising above that and prioritizing the health of his pitchers? Not exactly. But if you were there, around the team, and felt the daily pressure to win and what it felt like when the Yankees blew a lead and lost you would understand better the atmosphere in which Torre was making those decisions.