Daily Scoop (cont.)
Joe Torre's analysis that this Dodgers team needed a "younger voice'' was dead on. However, that brings up the question of how Torre might fit with the Cubs or Mets, the two teams with managerial openings (the Mets' opening isn't official yet) that could clearly afford his services.
The Cubs didn't click with the slightly younger Lou Piniella the past two years, and one of their positives this year were the young players, especially Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin. Same with the Mets, whose disappointing year was tempered a bit by the performances of youngsters Jon Niese, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada and others.
The Mets are said by one person familiar with their search (it appears to already be under way) to be looking for a "high-energy'' guy. Not that Torre lacks energy, but that phrase was tied to Wally Backman and Bobby Valentine, who appear to be more likely candidates than Torre. The one chance Torre might have with the Mets is if fans cry out for him. However, Mets fans seem happy about ether Backman or Valentine (who's much more qualified than Backman), two men (like Torre) with extensive ties to the team.
The Cubs also seem to be leaning against a "celebrity'' manager, which seems to suggest Torre isn't necessarily a fit there, and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News suggested Sunday that the team might actually be leaning toward keeping interim skipper Mike Quade, who certainly fits as a non-celebrity. If Tony La Russa leaves the Cardinals, St. Louis could be an interesting scenario for Torre. But while Torre indicated he still is interested in managing, and there could be as many as a dozen openings, he may wind up in the broadcast booth at least for 2011.
Don Mattingly is a gamble, and Dodgers fans clearly wanted Tim Wallach to get the job (a Los Angeles Times poll had a clear majority favoring Wallach, while Mattingly was beaten by "someone else''), but he brings class, integrity and hard work to the job. His name hadn't been heard much lately, leading to speculation (including here) that Wallach might get the job. But the Dodgers honored what turned out to be a contractual commitment to make Mattingly Torre's replacement.
One lawyer who's gone over the documents in the McCourt case said he believes wife Jamie should win a claim to half the team since their agreement to give the team to Frank and the houses to her was "a clear attempt to shield the properties from creditors.'' (Frank's credit was iffy.) That lawyer says he believes neither party has the wherewithal to keep the team by themselves. MLB would like the McCourts out, though there's little precedent for forcing a sale.
Joe Girardi will probably stay with the Yankees rather than go to the home state Cubs (he's from Peoria and went to Northwestern). But if he leaves, Bobby Valentine likely would be one candidate to replace him in the Bronx.
Ken Macha is very likely out in Milwaukee, as his contract expires following two disappointing seasons there. It doesn't appear that Willie Randolph heads the Brewers' list of replacement candidates, a surprise since the owner Mark Attanasio is a Randolph fan from the Bronx. Bob Melvin, as mentioned in this space this week, could be a candidate.
People around baseball suggest Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is on shaky ground. But Zduriencik took over a 101-loss team and has had only one bad year following a very good one. There was a mound of bad publicity following the acquisition of convicted pitcher Josh Lueke in the Cliff Lee deal (Zduriencik admitted in a phone interview he should have done a better job checking on Lueke's background), but Zduriencik's close friend Carmen Fusco has been fired for that. Beyond that, Zduriencik has generally traded well, his team has drafted well and the Mariners' minor league teams did superbly well. Eight of nine Mariners affiliates finished with winning records and their overall mark of 490-410 was second only to St. Louis (492-404). More good news on the way: Seattle's four full-season farm teams combined to lead the minors in runs scored. So help is on the way.