2007_10_torrelogo.jpgFighting to keep his emotions in check, Joe Torre took the podium in Rye today and thanked George Steinbrenner for letting him run his ball club for 12 years. Torre went on to explain the events of the last 48 hours.

Wednesday night Brian Cashman called Joe and conveyed the Yankees’ offer of one-year and $5-million with bonuses. Joe asked to meet with the group in Tampa and met for 20 minutes and when the offer didn’t change, he turned it down.

“The terms of the contract were the probably the thing I had the toughest time with,” Torre said. “The one year for one thing, the incentives for another thing. I had been there 12 years and I didn’t think motivation was needed. I felt pretty well renewed every year going after something and we knew exactly what was expected here. I just didn’t think it was the right thing for me, I didn’t think it was the right thing for my players.”

Joe concluded his brief remarks by thanking numerous members of the organization and especially the fans.

Update: Torre answers some questions from those at the press conference in the extended entry.

When asked why he turned the deal down, Torre added:
“When I expressed my dissatisfaction with the length of contract and the um….And the length of contract for the reason I think you are all aware of. It’s just starts when you are in the last year of a contract especially for this organization you know after you lose two or three or four games the questions are going to come up again. And again, it’s tough when you have to answer those questions, but you certainly understand they are going to be asked.. And I explained that and the fact that the incentives, which to me I took as an insult. You know we basically get to postseason and now all of a sudden we are satisfied with where we’ve gotten to. “

Torre added that he offered to Yankees’ ownership what it would take to bring him back, but it was not a negotiation the offer was final. He refused to be drawn into speculation of whether the offer was one that had been designed for him to turn down. He did say that a two-year guarantee would have “opened the door to further discussion.”

Torre clearly didn’t feel that the Yankees genuinely wanted him to return. “If somebody wants you to do a job. If it takes them two weeks to figure out if yeah I guess we should do this or we wanna do this then yeah, you are a little suspicious.”

Torre was asked if he would recommend anyone to replace him and cracked up the room by replying, “I am not sure I am in a place to recommend anyone because I just lost my job.” He did add that having a Yankee connection would help the next manager.

Asked if he had any regrets about decisions he made over the 12 years, Torre said he wished he had gone out to the mound in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS and tried to stop the game because of the bugs.

In typical fashion, Torre continually took the high road, refusing to attack Randy Levine, someone he doesn’t like, when asked about his feelings towards Levine. He was asked if had been made a scapegoat, but wouldn’t agree to that characterization. He didn’t commit to managing again saying only that he “would want to sit with someone and discuss what the job would be.” He sidestepped a question about Steinbrenner’s health saying only, “I found him the same way I have found him the last couple of times I met with him.” But, he showed that he was hurt by all of this when he refused to comment when asked about his feelings towards the Yankees and if he would be willing to participate in a ceremony closing the Stadium or opening the new one.

And after over an hour of questions, Joe Torre left the podium to a round of applause from the assembled press corps.

Photo of Joe Torre on November 2, 1995 after being introduced as the new manager of the Yankees by AP/Ed Bailey