Five dollars. That’s the amount I’ve determined to be the threshold where discounts, give-aways and other freebies actually feel worthwhile. Case in point, I probably have two or three old Lotto tickets where I’ve won a buck and it just seems not worth the inconvenience of actually taking them to the store to cash them in. If I had five of them that would be a different story. I also shop at CVS regularly and have found their Extra Care card to actually be pretty good. Why? Because every once in a while, I’ll actually get $5 in Extra Care Buck$ and that feels pretty good, because hey, that’s like a few bags of pork rinds right there, you know? And then last night, I had to go buy some laundry detergent- $5.49 for 32 oz. of Arm and Hammer detergent. But because I had an Extra Care card, it was on sale, two for the price of one! That breaks the $5 savings level and therefore I felt pretty happily surprised. Then I went home, checked my mail and found I had received a check out of the blue from my car dealer’s service center. Turns out it is for a “tire tax refund”. How much? $2.50. Psssss.
Speaking of dollars and cents, Joe Torre declined the Yankees offer for 1 year and $5 million yesterday. It’s a shame to lose him, but it’s consistent with the ongoing transformation of the organization. If we were sure we were going to keep A-Rod, Mo, Posada, Moose, Pettitte and Clemens, then Torre would have been worth more to the front office. Cashman is no dummy. Since there’s a good chance a lot of the big-contract veterans will not be around, there’s less of a requirement for the strong figurehead hall-of-fame-manager type. If you’re a team of veteran superstars then you do in fact need a Torre type to command respect and get everyone to buy into the team concept. But the new Yankees are not that type of team anymore. Quietly Cashman has rebuilt and kept us in contention. Most people didn’t realize that by midway through the season this year, the Yanks actually had more home-grown starting players than anyone else in the league. What 2008 will bring is either a transition year where the old will continue to slowly yield to the young, or quite possibly a faster sea change where all of the veterans move on. That’s why they only offered Torre 1-year. No matter what, by 2009, the Cashman transformation should be all but complete.
So who will be the next manager? I believe that depends on which of those two scenarios Cashman wants to pursue. Just as with the Torre negotiations, if he really wants to complete the transition in one quick swipe, he can offer the veteran players deals he knows they will reject. And if he goes that route, then Joe Girardi is the right man for the managerial spot because he’s proven he can be an outstanding manager of developmental players. But if Cash wants to go with the gentler phase-out, then Mattingly is the man because he’s a Yankee legend and that buys him respect from the veterans that Girardi can’t compete with. I don’t know what the timeframes are on player contract negotiations versus the managerial decision, but I’m pretty sure that whichever one gets finalized first will determine how the other(s) will play out.