Dodgers' Torre would love to have Rivera in bullpen
"Anybody who doesn't want him is crazy. Let's put it that way," Torre said Wednesday evening.
The Yankees offered the All-Star closer a $45 million, three-year contract to stay in New York and were waiting to hear back. If he accepts the deal, Rivera would be by far the highest-paid relief pitcher in baseball.
Rivera has spent all 13 of his major league seasons with the Yankees and ranks third on the career saves list with 443. He filed for free agency this offseason, but Torre thinks Rivera will return to New York.
"I haven't talked to him about it, but I'd be surprised if he didn't," Torre said. "He's state-of-the-art for me. I don't know what he's thinking at this point in time."
Rivera, who turns 38 on Nov. 29, said this week the Yankees are his "first option." But if he can't reach a deal with New York, he'd consider following Torre to the Dodgers.
"He's using me as a shill, that's fine," Torre said with a smile.
The two saw each other Friday at a gala for Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, but the manager said he didn't learn much about Rivera's plans.
"Mariano was pretty much noncommittal at the time. He really didn't tell me anything," Torre said.
Torre spoke Wednesday at another charity function in Manhattan, where Samsung donated $107,000 to the foundation, created by the manager and his wife, Ali, to fight domestic violence.
Torre said his coaching staff in Los Angeles is mostly set and the Dodgers plan to release all the details when the contracts are completed.
Don Mattingly (hitting coach) and Larry Bowa (third base coach) are following Torre from New York to Los Angeles. But Ron Guidry, expected to be replaced as Yankees pitching coach, isn't coming along.
"I talked to Gator and I told him that I really wanted to stay closer to the Dodger organization since they had a lot of young pitchers. I thought it was the best thing to do," Torre said. "He's just going to stay home."
Torre wasn't sure whether Guidry would join the Yankees in spring training as a special instructor.
As for his new roster in Los Angeles, Torre is playing catch-up.
"We had a conference call today talking about our players and stuff. The last couple weeks have been a quick learn for me, but I'm enthusiastic -- just the fact that there are a lot of young players with a lot of talent it seems. So I'm anxious to get to spring training," he said.
Torre said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is exploring ways to upgrade.
"You've got to help your offense some way, but we're looking to help our club in a few different areas, whether it be through free agency or trade. I think that's what we're discussing right now," Torre said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press