Joe Torre as New York Mets manager? That might be more than just a fantasy, according to published reports.
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."
Makes you wonder if leftover resentment from the uneasy way Torre left the New York Yankees would motivate the 70-year-old to postpone retirement long enough to see if he could resuscitate the Mets. Even though the Yankees, who have shunned Torre for the past few seasons, are now saying he is welcome at Yankee Stadium, you know Torre would still like to stick it to those in the Yankee organization (Hank Steinbrenner, Randy Levin, cough, cough) who wanted him gone.