Dodgers don’t yet have deal with Torre
Vail, CO Colorado
LOS ANGELES ” Joe Torre is clearly the leading candidate to become the Los Angeles Dodgers’ next manager, but general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday that contrary to published reports, a deal hadn’t been struck.
Colletti did acknowledge he’s had contact with the former New York Yankees manager, but said Torre might not be the only candidate for the job that became vacant Tuesday when Grady Little resigned.
“We have interest. It may be mutual, that’s really a question for the other side,” Colletti said. “We’ve had some conversations with him very recently. We do not have an agreement. We’ve got other people we’ve got under consideration. We’re in the process of compiling a list. Once we get a list, we’ll go from there. We’re taking it day by day.”
Soon after Little resigned Tuesday, published reports said Torre and the Dodgers had already reached a deal, some claiming he had agreed in principle to a three-year contract worth $14.5 million.
“I’ve watched stuff in the last 72 hours that I can’t believe I’m watching,” Colletti said. “I can tell you we do not have an agreement. I’ve seen more inaccuracy than I can ever remember.”
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Still, it seems a job once held by Hall of Famers Walter Alston and Tom Lasorda will soon be filled by another big winner: Torre.
“I’m not going to get into where the negotiations are,” Colletti said. “It’s still early in the process in some ways.”
When asked if the parties were close, Colletti replied: “I don’t categorize anything as close, far. It’s either done or it’s not done.”
Torre’s agent, Maury Gostfrand, has declined to comment.
While Colletti offered no timetable, he said he’d like to have a new manager in place as soon as possible.
“Anything’s possible,” he said.
Torre and his former bench coach, Don Mattingly, have discussed the possibility of joining the Dodgers together, according to a person with knowledge of those talks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the manager’s position in Los Angeles was vacant.
“We don’t have a coaching staff in mind, we haven’t gotten there,” Colletti said. “We’ve discussed it to some extent. I think whoever the manager is, there will have to be a comfort level on his part and my part.”
Colletti said he was aware of baseball’s rule regarding minorities being interviewed for managerial jobs.
“We’re taking it into consideration. We’ll see how things go,” he said. “I’d rather look at what we’ve done. What we’ve done speaks well. I think it’s pretty indicative of a thorough thought process.”
Colletti acknowledged that the buzz surrounding Torre might cause other potential candidates to decline to be interviewed.
“That’s certainly a factor,” Colletti said. “I believe it will play a role.”
The 57-year-old Little stepped down with a year remaining on his contract in a move he said he considered for some time. First, he called it “a mutual resignation.” Later, he said it was his choice to leave.
“I’ve got my own personal reasons. There’s a lot of belief I’ve been dealt an injustice here. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Little said. “My plans? To play with my grandkids.”
When asked if reports that the Dodgers were speaking with Torre influenced his decision, Little replied firmly: “No.”
The 67-year-old Torre, who managed the Yankees to four World Series titles and 12 playoff appearances in 12 seasons, completed a $19.2 million, three-year contract this year. He ranks eighth on baseball’s career list with 2,067 victories and has won a record 76 postseason games.
On Oct. 18, Torre rejected a $5 million, one-year offer from the Yankees with an additional $3 million in performance bonuses.
Colletti said he sensed Little was leaning toward stepping down, so he began discussing the job recently with potential replacements. One of those candidates, the GM acknowledged, was Joe Girardi, hired by the Yankees as Torre’s successor earlier Tuesday.
Colletti said Wednesday he first spoke with Torre in the past few days.
The Dodgers entered this season as the clear-cut favorite to win the NL West. They had the league’s best record in mid-July, but lost 11 of their last 14 games to fade out of contention, finishing at 82-80.
Little managed the Boston Red Sox from 2002-03 before he was fired despite winning more than 90 games each season.