Torre might manage in 2011

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre has one year remaining on his three-year, $13 million contract. It’s been expected that Torre would retire after next season, leaving the door open for Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly to take his place. Torre will turn 70 next year, but he feels motivated enough to manage in 2011.

As T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times reports

I hear Joe Torre is talking about extending his contract as manager with the Dodgers and remaining beyond next season.

“Where did you get that?” Torre says, the first time all weekend he seems to care where I’m getting my inside information.

But it’s true, Torre says, “we’re talking about it.”

We know this, he’s not chatting with Jamie McCourt about it.

“We were talking about my coaches and I’ve been thinking about it,” Torre says while mentioning General Manager Ned Colletti’s name and plans to chat again once Torre returns from a charity function in New York.

“It’s been fun. When I came here, I was curious about how it might go. But the last two years have been invigorating. You see progress and your ego tells you maybe you had something to do with it.”

The Dodgers made the NLCS in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1985. Given this success, the team signed GM Ned Colletti to a contract extension last month. Torre is still an important piece to the Dodgers puzzle, so I think the Dodgers are willing to keep him as long as he likes. He’s obviously had less to work with than he did in New York, but those 95 wins last season say otherwise.

Still, the Dodgers need to handle Mattingly wisely. (Mattingly interviewed for the managerial openings in Cleveland and Washington but wasn’t hired.) He says he has no qualms about Torre’s decision to carry on and is willing to wait patiently.

Torre is sometimes too carefree for my tastes, appearing as if he’s just going through the motions. He claims he still has the desire to win, but I’d like to see him take a more proactive stance in the future. After all, the Dodgers are only a couple starters away from overtaking the Phillies and Torre’s postseason experience is perhaps his greatest asset.

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