Off Base
Torre's Stories Story an Overblown Controversy

February 2, 2009, 6:47 p.m. Just a little, don't you think? There's no there there. At least, there's nothing there that should concern Los Angeles in the slightest.

And God forbid, we should read the book before going ape-wire on poor fellow.

Joe Torre's new book, "The Yankee Years," co-written with Tom Verducci, is a New York story. It's about a ball club and a city 3000 miles away and in the past tense. In the long run, it doesn't matter here and it's going to have zero affect on the 2009 Dodgers. In the short run too.

Give the skipper credit for releasing the book early. What happens in January stays in January, or at the latest, the third week of February. By Opening Day this will be way, way, way far back in the rear view mirror. It's not all that big a deal now, and no one will care at all in April.

The "any publicity is good publicity" axiom applies to a degree here too. Torre is a national figure like no other manager in baseball, and even when he's talking about the Yankees he's a good face for the Dodgers franchise. This is in part why they hired him, to get the kind of ink he's getting now. Exactly this kind of ink.

And with Super Bowl hype in full swing last week, baseball needed something. That no doubt went into the public relations strategy.

In Phil Jackson, we have a perfect analogy. Jackson showed up in L.A. with a bunch of championships and an interesting ex-team to talk about. Then he went out and earned some more rings. Sure, he wrote a book about the Lakers later that caused a big stir, but that's very different from what Torre is doing now. And even after that more genuine controversy, Jackson brought his team back to prominence.

If the young Dodgers have concerns about their dirty laundry being hung out publicly, all they have to do is act like professionals, and they'll be fine. They ought to anyway.

Besides, "A-Fraud" is a great line. And if there's a player on earth who could use a good lightening up, a guy who can truly benefit from having his chain yanked (pun intended) every so often, it's Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod is an odd character. Fine, he's a weird guy, and almost impossible not to make fun of. And David Wells is a jackass. Alert the media, right? Let's move forward…

Manny: We're in February and the deal needs to get done now. Right now. Posturing at this point is just plain lame. The Dodgers have extended a serious olive branch, and I'm always grateful when they follow my advice this closely. favorite and Los Angeles' best baseball beat writer, Tony Jackson, reports that the club has offered Manny $25 million for one year, 2009. Good, finally a little creativity. Anyone who says this isn't a real offer is to be flogged publicly if at all possible. $25 mil on a one-year is a real deal. Major.

Back on January 3, I suggested the Dodgers do something unusual, and give Ramirez a choice, tossing out not one, but two contract offers for him to consider. They're halfway there, and if they need to go up to $26 or $27 mil on the one-year to make it happen, I'll gladly pay another quarter for a grilled Dodger Dog – fifty cents if they actually cook the damn thing.

OK Dodgers, now bring back the November offer of $45 mil for two years, and sweeten it just a teeny weenie bit in some significant or insignificant way, and you're there. Manny will grab one deal or the other.

The only curiosity left in the process at that point will be whether or not Scott Boras will have the balls to complain about the one-year deal in a statement that sounds something like this: "$25 mil?! Why, that's only three million more than you're paying Andruw Jones this year!!"

I'm betting he won't. One year for Manny is the best option for everyone. It's a can't miss. Props to the Dodgers for putting it out there…

Poli-Sigh: The Main Squeeze and I dropped in on a screening of "Frost/Nixon" over the weekend. Man, the critics were right about Frank Langella. He really was wonderful playing Dave Frost. And Michael Sheen as Otis Nixon was a stroke of genius. If you haven't yet, go see this great baseball movie. You'll be glad you did…

Media Savvy: From Jon Heyman, at "After actually viewing Milton Bradley's contract, it appears to be a $20 million, two-year deal, not a $30 million, three-year guarantee as has been widely reported (including here). While it's very likely Bradley gets the $30 million, the complicated agreement appears to suggest that he needs to spend fewer than 75 days on the disabled list in 2009 to guarantee the full amount. And that's no guarantee for Bradley, especially with him having to play the outfield. Perhaps they only told him it was $30 million so he wouldn't get mad."

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….








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