And let the spinning begin : Via a conference call to the New York media earlier today, the Yankees claimed that Joe Torre turned down a one-year contract to manage in 2008. Said pact would’ve included a base salary of $5 million (a pay cut of $2.5 million from Torre’s 2007 salary) which included individual bonuses of $1 million for reaching the ALDS, ALCS and World Series (not for “winning the World Series”, a club spokesperson was quick to point out, lest anyone accuse ownership of holding Joe to a ridiculously high standard). Were the Torre-led Yankees to reach the World Series in ’08, Joe would’ve held the option to return to the Bronx in 2009 for a base salary of $8 million.

I don’t often give the Yankees credit for smooth P.R….and I won’t on this occasion, either. They offered the most successful manager of the modern era a deal that would’ve made him a lame duck at a reduced salary, but by continuing to stress how Torre still would’ve been “the highest paid manager in baseball”, he can be painted as an ingrate.

If some portion of the Yankee braintrust really didn’t want Torre to return, why was this exercise necessary? Given what Joe’s tenure has meant to the team and the fans, surely there was a more dignified way of ending the relationship than making an offer they already knew he’d reject.