Torre Officially Joins MLB Staff To Oversee All On-Field Matters
As expected, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Saturday named Joe Torre as the league's new Exec VP/Baseball Operations, completing a long transition for the department. Torre will oversee all on-field matters, including umpiring, rules and discipline and act as a liaison to the 30 GMs, and as a result, will become one of the major public faces for MLB. The four-time World Series champion takes over for MLB Exec VP/Administration John McHale, who had been running the department on an interim basis since last June after fellow league Exec VP Jimmie Lee Solomon was reassigned to a baseball development role. McHale will now return to his prior role. "This is a very critical appointment," said Selig, who made the announcement at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the new Spring Training complex for the Rockies and D'Backs in Scottsdale. "As I thought about this a lot over the past year, he's really uniquely suited for this position." Torre will maintain his L.A. residence, but spend "significant" time at MLB's N.Y. headquarters, particularly early on. "I retired from managing ... but I still have the energy to work. Really, baseball has been a huge part of my life. I just would like to do something significant, and this fits the bill. No question about it." Torre will also retain his role on Selig's Special Committee for On-Field Matters. Frank Robinson, a longtime ally of Selig's, will revert to his prior role as a special advisor to the commissioner after working for McHale as Senior VP/Baseball Operations (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff reported Torre will earn a $2M salary from MLB and "be responsible for player discipline for on-field issues, umpiring and other on-field operations." Torre brings "credibility and far more star power than to which the post is accustomed" (NEWSDAY, 2/27).
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: YAHOO SPORTS' Steve Henson wrote under the header, "Torre's Temperament Is Ideal For Key MLB Post." Throughout the league, "decisions will gain the benefit of the doubt because Joe Torre will have made them." Henson: "When discipline is meted out, Torre will explain why. If umpires’ hubris needs reining in, Torre will get it done without diminishing their authority. If replay is expanded or a crackdown on beanball retaliation becomes necessary, Torre will make the announcement and take the questions in measured, congenial tones, leaving the impression that baseball knows what it is doing" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/27).