Joe Torre is Out

He was offered a one year, $5 million contract, and he rejected it.

Joe Torre is out as manager of the New York Yankees, rejecting a substantial pay cut after the team failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year.

Torre turned down a $5 million, one-year contract Thursday that still would have made him the highest paid manager in baseball.

Bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to replace Torre, who led the Yanks to 12 straight playoff appearances and won four World Series championships. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with Florida in 2006, is another top contender.

“It’s a difficult day,” general manager Brian Cashman said.

But it was one Yankees’ fans could see coming.

After losing the first two playoff games to Cleveland, owner George Steinbrenner said he didn’t think Torre would be back if the Yankees didn’t advance. They lost in four games.

Torre, who took over the team to start the 1996 season, made his decision after traveling fom New York to the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. He was accompanied by Cashman and chief operating officer Lonn Trost.

Tonight is game five of American League Championship Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox, and if the Indians win it, they go to the World Series. If it can’t be the Tigers, I hope it’s the Indians.

Update: Be sure to read Peter F.’s analysis in the comments below. Here’s a portion:

I don’t think Yankee owner George Steinbrenner or GM Brian Cashman had ANY intention of bringing Torre back, that much is clear. I think what transpired–and I have zero proof of this–is that the Yanks said ‘Hey, Joe, it’s been real, thanks for the championships and post-season appearances, but we’re going to fire you. However, we want to let you go honorably and with dignity. We’ll make you an offer, you refuse it. Capice?” Joe says capice. Game over. And one of baseball’s great manager leaves with the honor and dignity he deserves. And no, I’m not a Yankee fan whatsoever.

He also has a lot of great analysis in his Wizbang Sports post from October 9th, right after the Yanks lost the ALDS to the Indians.

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