Joe Torre takes a walk

You don't have to like the New York Yankees to respect their manager, Joe Torre. In fact, you might like the Yankees a little less and respect Torre a little more now that he has told the front office to stuff it.

Team owner George Steinbrenner offered Torre a deal to return next season that might have been appropriate for a manager who had suffered an off year. But, like every other year at the helm of the Yankees, Torre had led the teams to the playoffs again this year.

Steinbrenner offered Torre a one-year contract of $5 million -- $2.5 million less than he made this season -- with $3 million in bonuses if the Yankees reached next year's World Series and an $8 million option for 2009 that would have become guaranteed if New York won the American League pennant.

But it wasn't about the money for Torre. He has made plenty of that.

The issue was pride. He wasn't going to take a humiliating pay cut, and he didn't feel obligated to prove himself all over again.

And he shouldn't have to. His record over the past 12 years with the Yankees should speak for itself.

That record includes 12 straight years in the playoffs, 10 AL East titles and four World Series titles. With 2,067 regular-season wins, Torre is eighth on the career list and was third among active managers. He is almost certain to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The problem? The Yanks haven't reached the Series since 2003. And, apparently, Steinbrenner is tired of waiting. Good luck finding a replacement for Torre who can deliver the wins with such regularity.

Meanwhile, Torre shouldn't have much trouble finding another managing job if he wants it. Maybe the Mets could use him.

Yankees manager Joe Torre quit rather than accept a humiliating one-year contract.