Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre won’t hang up the phone on the New York Mets if the team wants to bring him home, the New York Post reported Saturday.
Though the 70-year-old is leaning toward calling it a managerial career, after Friday announcing he will step down as Dodgers manager at the end of this season, a person close to the Brooklyn native said the Mets might be the only team that could lure Torre back to the dugout for 2011.
The Mets are expected to announce within the next three weeks that they will not be picking up the option for next season on manager Jerry Manuel’s contract. Wally Backman remains the front-runner for the job, but an organizational source would not rule out the possibility of the Mets at least inquiring about Torre, who has a strong relationship with principal owner Fred Wilpon.
Wilpon became Mets president in 1980, a season before Torre was fired as the team’s manager. Wilpon is a supporter of Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation.
"The Mets are certainly an inviting situation because they have a lot better personnel than their record shows," the person close to Torre said. "The injuries have hurt them."
Though Backman led the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones to the playoffs this season, there is some question within the organization whether he is ready to guide a major league team. One line of thinking is the Mets could hand the reins to Torre for two years and put Backman next to him as the bench coach. Backman would then be groomed for the top job, in the same manner Torre worked with Don Mattingly, who will be succeeding him with the Dodgers.
Torre would not come cheaply. He is completing a three-year contract worth $13 million, and would want to be compensated in the same annual range by the Mets, according to the source.