Tell-alls are all the rage, I know. Britney is about to write one. Ditto for Sarah Palin. So Joe Torre is striking while the iron is hot, as the excerpt posted on SI.com illustrates.
The meeting was Torre's idea. Hank, Hal, Lopez, Levine, Trost and Cashman had kicked around the idea of what to do about Torre for the better part of a week. Do they offer him another contract, and, if so, for how long and for how much money? Do they even want him back at all? While they deliberated, Torre told Cashman he wanted to meet with the group face-to-face. It wasn't much different than how he managed: You look somebody in the eye and rely on direct honesty, rather than leaks and secondhand information.
[A bonus feature for purchasers of this book who also happen to work in the Yankee front office: Torre will come to your home or office and read the book aloud to you. Direct.]
"They only want to give you one year," Cashman told him over the phone.... "Cash, I have an idea. What about a two-year contract? It doesn't even really matter what the money is. Two years, and if I get fired in the first year, the second year is guaranteed. But if I get fired after the first year, I don't get the full amount of the second year, just a buyout. The money doesn't matter. I mean, as long as it's not just something ridiculous. It's not about the money. It's the second year."
[Exactly. The money makes *no* difference. Oh, but yeah, I'm going to want to see the terms of that buyout before I sign off on it.]
Torre had just gone through a hellish season, with constant leaks in the press, sniping from the front office, frequent rumors about him getting fired and the feeling that people within his own organization were rooting against him. He was worn out by all of it. There was no way he was going to go through another year like that.
[But *two* years of that? I can be persuaded....]
All Torre wanted was to manage one more season in relative calm, and the second year on a contract would help provide that kind of stability. The second year was nothing but an insurance policy. He planned to retire after that one season, anyway.
[Amazed that this negotiating tactic was unsuccessful, I tried it out myself following my recent performance review at my own place of employment:
Boss: Archie, is there anything that you'd like to discuss?
Me: Actually there is, sir: my employment contract.
Boss: OK, what specifically would you like to discuss?
Me: The length of my imminent extension. I know that we normally go year-to-year, but I would really prefer to get 2009 *and* 2010 guaranteed now.
Boss: Hmmm, for any particular reason?
Me: Yes. I'd like to retire in 2010 and move someplace warm..., maybe Scottsdale. But I'd prefer to get paid for that year.
Boss: .....But you have no intention of working for the company. You just admitted as much.
Me: You are focusing on all the wrong details, sir. Paying me for 2010-- even though I have no intention of working for you at all during that year-- will make me more productive in 2009.
Boss: I'm going to have to say "no" here, Archie. I'll see you on Monday.
Me: Maybe a buyout option?
Boss: Don't make me call Security.
"Yeah, I was leaving a lot of money on the table," Torre said, "but I didn't give a s---, because I knew what I went through the year before, dreading coming to the ballpark and sitting behind that desk every day. It would have been the same thing."
[How could the Yankees let this guy go?!?]