I can't decide if the Yankees should have fired Joe Torre.
I'm trying to think about this as an objective scholar of the game and not as a Red Sox fan. It's not an easy place to be and I haven't come to any conclusions.
The Yankees need to shake things up. It is not I, but they, who define success as winning the World Series. And they've failed in that goal for an entire century now. Reading the overblown coverage, it's not dissimilar from what the pundits used to say about the Red Sox. Succuming to the pressure. Unable to elevate their game when it counts. (This reminds me of my favorite Dan Shaughnessy line ever: the Red Sox always lose the last game of the season that matters. But I digress.)
They're stuck with the players they have. Alex Rodriguez, signed through 2010. Derek Jeter, 2010. Jason Giambi, 2008. Mike Mussina, club option for next year. Randy Johnson, 2007. Bobby Abreu, 2007. Johnny Damon, 2009. Hideki Matsui, 2009. Gary Sheffield, club option. Mariano Rivera, club option. Jorge Posada, club option. Carl Pavano, 2008. Jaret Wright, 2007. Kyle Farnsworth, 2008. Mike Myers, 2007.
So there's a tiny bit of wiggle room if they want it. They can cut ties with Mussina, Sheffield, Rivera, and Posada.
Given the struggles that their pitching has had, I don't see Mussina leaving the team. They might decline his $17 million club option and see if they can sign him for $10 or so, but at that price, he could wind up anywhere. To be the highest bidder, The Yankees probably have to pay $13 million, and with the $1.5 million buyout, that's not much saving for a lot of risk (say, Mussina to the Red Sox).
And I can't imagine why they'd want to keep Sheffield at $13 million when Melky Cabrera might give them the same production (and Abreu is the now the rightfielder).
Posada and Rivera are staying.
The point is, the 2007 New York Yankees will look much the same as the 2006 model. The sign of a lunatic is someone who does the same thing over and over and expects a different result. Shea Hillenbrand, David Dellucci -- these are cheaper options that would serve the team better than chasing Jermaine Dye and Alfonzo Soriano. I expect them to take the more expensive choices.
Joe Torre's magic has worn off. Yes, yes -- if Jeremy Giambi slides, if Jeffrey Maier is never born, etc., etc., things look different. But Lou Pinella maybe wakes up A-Rod and gets in Randy Johnson's face and ... well, I don't even know if these things would work. But if the Yankees were my team, and thank goodness they aren't, I'd want to blow the whole thing up except for Jeter and Rivera. They can probably get some value for Abreu and maybe Jered Wright. Heck, I don't know.
Vaya con el Diablo, George.