According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Joe Torre will soon announce that he is stepping down as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and he will be replaced at the helm by former Yankee captain Don Mattingly.
It has been assumed for years that Mattingly would eventually take over for Torre, but most imagined that it would happen here in the Bronx. But when Torre left the Yankees after the 2007 season, the Yankees and their ownership were wowed by Joe Girardi and he snatched the job from Donnie Baseball.
Mattingly then followed Torre to the Dodgers because he knew that if he stuck around and Girardi got off to a slow start the media would be calling for Girardi’s head and demanding that the job go to it’s rightful successor.
The move was smart because the 2008 Yankees struggled under Girardi and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. If he was around, there certainly could have been problems.
Even if the pair made it through 2008 in tact, with Girardi leading the team to the World Series last year he’s probably going to be the man in charge for a while here. The general manager, Brian Cashman, and the ownership seem firmly entrenched behind him, even if the faith of a few fans begins to waiver. In Los Angeles, Mattingly has put himself in position to take over the head job there in just three years.
At least part of me is questioning whether this is worth it for The Hit Man. The Dodgers are having a poor season and are in disarray as their two owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, are locked in a bitter divorce battle that seemingly has the team in limbo. If this divorce becomes prolonged and the team takes a while to turn around, it could end up looking bad on Mattingly as he runs his first team.
Perhaps I am misreading the situation though. Mattingly’s calm demeanor could be the right thing for a split team. It really depends on how much different he is going to be on his own than Torre is now. They seem almost identical, but in reality it is impossible to tell because Torre has been around throughout Mattingly’s entire post-playing career.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see because if Tim Brown is on the money, the Mattingly-era begins in 2011 (to me he’ll always be Mr. Yankee).