Torre's future still uncertain as Yankees end second day of meetings

Updated: October 18, 2007, 1:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- This business with Joe Torre is getting kind of bizarre.

After two days of much-hyped meetings, owner George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees still won't say whether they plan to bring back Torre for a 13th season as their manager.

"We hold Joe Torre in the highest regard and, obviously, that's why we're taking the time ... to determine what's best for us as we move forward and whether he's a part of that or not," general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday outside Legends Field, the team's spring training home.

"More meetings. We're working on it," team president Randy Levine said when he arrived at Legends Field on Thursday.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that a decision isn't expected on Thursday either, but word on Torre's fate could come by the end of the week.

Cashman returned to New York, along with chief operating officer Lonn Trost and assistant GM Jean Afterman. Team president Randy Levine remained in Florida.

Tough Act to Follow

Whoever succeeds Joe Torre, when the likely Hall of Fame manager leaves the Yankees, will have some big shoes to fill. Among his accomplishments in New York:

• 1,173-767 record
• Four World Series titles
• 10 AL East titles (9 straight from 1998-2006)
• Two-time AL Manager of the Year (1996 and 1998)
• Reached postseason all 12 seasons

All-time managerial wins leaders
Manager Wins
Connie Mack 3,776
John McGraw 2,840
Tony La Russa 2,375
Bobby Cox 2,255
Sparky Anderson 2,194
Bucky Harris 2,159
Joe McCarthy 2,126
Joe Torre 2,067

Steinbrenner, who has the final say, also was in Florida, along with sons Hal and Hank and son-in-law Felix Lopez. The owner arrived at Legends Field shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday.

Cashman wouldn't give any timing for a final say on Torre, whose $19.2 million, three-year contract expires Oct. 31. He said that if the decision is made to keep Torre, "then there's a negotiation. ... And that takes time. It's as simple as that."

"As long as it takes," Cashman said, "So give it the time it needs."

While the team's top officials met in Florida, some fans signed a petition Wednesday at a "Save Joe Torre" rally near Times Square in New York.

Steinbrenner did not comment -- he hasn't discussed Torre's future publicly since he told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 6 that he didn't think he'd bring back Torre if the Yankees failed to advance to the AL championship series. Cleveland then eliminated New York in four games, the Yankees' third straight first-round exit.

Cashman said that he has remained in contact with Torre.

"I talk to Joe as a friend and colleague," he said.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN Radio in New York reported on Wednesday that the Yankees have not contacted bench coach Don Mattingly's agent, Ray Schulte about the managerial job.

"We haven't heard anything," Schulte said.

Cashman did indicate a subtle shift in the Yankees' power structure. Asked whether the 77-year-old owner will pick the manager, the general manager responded: "The Boss owns the franchise, so obviously, the Boss, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are obviously the ownership group that I answer to."

Before the afternoon meeting, there was a morning session that also included senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer and special adviser Gene Michael.

Cashman said the Yankees are maintaining their position that they will not negotiate with Alex Rodriguez if he terminates his $252 million, 10-year contract.

Rodriguez, who has three seasons left on the deal, must decide by the 10th day following the World Series.

"I can reaffirm that, if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, then we will not participate in his free agency," Cashman said. "That is accurate and that is definitive."

Rodriguez met for three days this week in California with his agent, Scott Boras, to determine his strategy.

"He said he's comfortable playing in New York and enjoys it," Boras said. "However he has a right available to him that is solely in his discretion."

A determination also has not been made on Torre's coaches. That will come after there's a decision on the manager.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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