Winter Meetings interview with Joe Torre

Winter Meetings interview with Joe Torre

Where do you stand on the second base --

JOE TORRE: We have a meeting tomorrow. Obviously it will be part of the conversation but that would still be something that we have to draft in conjunction with the Players Association. So we will discuss it but I really can't tell you, not that I won't tell you; I can't tell you where we're going to land.

Q. How do you feel about that? I know you talked about it when it happened but do you feel like each time something happens, something has to change?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, the thing that really gets your attention is the fact that you carry guys off the field. And we certainly don't want that to happen. I didn't think when Buster got hurt a few years back that we were able to do anything. And I had several conversations and I know you may have heard this before, with Bruce Bochy and Sabean and as much as I felt for them, I just didn't think, just from my experience, baseball-wise that anything could be done.

Then you get letters, at least I got a number of letters from parents whose kids got hurt in the Minor Leagues, and you have to pay more attention. You talk to Mike methane I who lost a year and a half of his life and can't account for it. Then you figure out what you're going to do, even though you know you're going to write it down and put it into play, that it's not going to be perfect and there's going to be some hiccups and it's actually never going to be perfect.

But in regards to the collision play at the plate, so far, so good, as far as guys not getting hurt. And players understand. I noticed in the second year that, you know, catchers were getting a little more comfortable with setting up and players were a little more understanding and staying away from collisions. Not that we don't have them. They are still there and they are still part of the rules and you're allowed to if somebody is blocking with the ball, but you know, it's second base, we'll look at it.

Again, I go back to my instructions to players, and you know, break up the no play. There's a way, I believe, you can do it without going out of your way to target the fielder and not consider touching the base. Again, doesn't mean we're not going to have collisions or guys landing on their rear ends in second base, but you know, I think we could try or I'd like to see us try to keep guys on the field.

Q. Are there any areas that you're pulling back or pushing forward on the replay over the next couple months?

JOE TORRE: You know, I don't see a great deal of change there. We're going to probably make adjustments or tweaks to it as the technology gets a little bit better. You know, obviously the Super Slow Mo gives us a better picture and we can see more things. You know, the fact that we overturned 50 percent, as opposed to 47 or 48 means that the managers are getting a little more comfortable with it because we're overturning calls.

As I said to the pr guys yesterday, I said, you know, for years, we accepted the imperfections of our game. But once we got replay, everybody wants everything to be picture perfect, and it's not going to be the case. You know, and I could take you, not that this is an invitation, okay, but I could take you into replay and a number of us could look at the same picture and see different things. Again, I had to find that out by watching. Even though the number is very, very low as far as missed replay calls, you're still able to overturn 50 percent of the calls that you weren't able to overturn a couple years ago.

To me, it's certainly a positive. As far as any additions, we're talking about some things, like we like to say it made sense to look at. You know, I don't want to go into detail because I know I'll miss something on that, but there's nothing that's going to be that major. It's going to be something that may happen a handful of times.

Q. On that play where the guy comes off the base, can you talk about that? Has there been any thought --

JOE TORRE: You know, what's interesting about it is we accepted certain things over the years but when a camera shows you that the glove is on the guy's leg and he's not on the bag, how can you say he's save? You know, as much as it's not my favorite play, and I know Jimmy Leyland, he's been trying to put wording together to try to eliminate that type of hold-on thing. But it's really hard for me to say it's okay to be save if you're not on the bag and the glove is tagging.

Again, we'll have that conversation and we'll continue to have that conversation, and if somebody sort of sheds a little light on it, something that makes sense, we may do something about it.

Q. Anything new with the issue of fan safety?

JOE TORRE: Fan safety, I believe didn't Dan have that, talking about netting in the ballparks? There have been some recommendations made to ownership and to teams. I'm sure we're certainly aware of it and sensitive to it. Again, like I said, we don't carry guys off the field; we certainly don't want fans in the stands to not stay healthy.

So we are closer than we've been.

Q. I'm not sure that falls under your domain here, but in terms of --

JOE TORRE: I'll pass it off, trust me, I will (Laughter.)

Q. September call-ups, is there any talk about maybe having a 25-man roster, still allowing the call-ups and just having a healthy --

JOE TORRE: Again, that's a negotiated thing. I can't speak to the Players Association but their understanding of what we're -- what the reasoning would be for that, but there is -- again, it's something that sounds simple: Let's just have the same number of players for every team, we have all it all year, why can't we do it in September.

But there are so many different details that certainly need to be paid attention to, so we are continuing to talk there. My personal feelings are that I think it's too important, the time of year that it happens, with the teams now, even more with the extra wild-card, more teams have an opportunity to go to post-season. And when you have, say, 28 guys and somebody else has 35, it's not a level playing field.

But again, we have to make sure we're able to cross the T's and dot the I's. I think it's something everybody is aware of, but it's just trying to find the path to get there.

Q. Is that something more for collective bargaining?

JOE TORRE: It's collective bargaining, but I don't think it's something that anybody has given anybody. It's making sure that everybody is dealt with fairly, you know, as far as the number of players and time and stuff like that.
 

Q. But as far as possible changes --

JOE TORRE: But that's where the result is going to have to happen, yes.

Q. With the Jose Reyes situation Aroldis Chapman, and you have the new policy that has not been implemented or has not been put to the test yet --

JOE TORRE: It's in place.

Torre on domestic abuse policy

Q. It has not actually been executed on anyone yet.

JOE TORRE: Right.

Q. I would assume we would see it happening more quickly if it were happening during the season but because it's the off-season, you have more time to get your thoughts on the implementation on this policy?

JOE TORRE: Well, there's no grass growing under anybody's feet here. We're in the progress of getting all information that's necessary. So there are investigations being conducted and I'm not sure it would be any quicker during the season.

Again, it's a new policy and I want to make sure that we follow the protocol that needs to be followed. Certainly I'm proud of the fact that Major League Baseball has come up with this policy, because you know, it's too important an issue not to pay attention to it.

Q. Just to be clear, do you foresee the league altering the rule as far as slides go before this next season?

JOE TORRE: I don't know that. We're going to talk about it and again, it has to be something that we talk with and find an agreement with the Players Association.

We can't unilaterally make a rule. We want to make sure that we include the Players Association because it's something that involves players, so we certainly want to do the right thing. Am I saying -- I'm not saying it's not going to be in place by this season. It depends on if we can find a common ground.

Q. What would the pushback be?

JOE TORRE: I don't know that. The fact of the matter is we have had some people question the neighborhood play at second base, and that involves the safety of the players.

I think there are certain slides, and again, right now, it's an umpire's decision on what's right and what isn't right on a slide because the umpire can rule, unfortunately, like for instance the play with the Mets and the Dodgers, Chris Guccione had to watch so many things. And really, the slide was probably last because of Tejada having to make a spin and he was having to watch the foot on the bag and catch the ball and is he still connected to the bag. So all those things. And then basically the slide would be last.

But this happens like this (indicating snapping fingers). It takes longer to talk about it than it takes to happen. But we'll see. Right now, in the -- I'll show you the direction we're experimenting with, because in the Fall League, this is the second year in a row we've had players have to slide directly into the base at second base.

And so we are gathering information on that and how comfortable the players are doing that.

Q. On the domestic abuse policy, is there a timetable in which you have to deliver some kind of verdict on this, like akin to a speedy trial type thing?

JOE TORRE: There's no timetable. Give you an example, like in the Chapman situation, we did not get that information until late yesterday. That's the first we heard about it. And obviously it happened, you know, much earlier than that.

So it takes time to gather information, and the same thing with the José Reyes thing. We want to make sure we have all the information and then the decision will be made. The only timetable is when we feel we've got as much information as we can get.

Q. In terms of this policy, say hypothetically this happens during the season. Is the player allowed on the field during the investigation?

JOE TORRE: I think it could depend on the seriousness of it as far as are there arrests or things like that. We're certainly not going to get in the way of the law conducting what they need to conduct. But we take everything in consideration.

As far as the policy, you know, as awful as this situation is, there are still rights that have to be protected, and so we're very careful in making sure that we respect that and get all the information and then we will proceed accordingly.

Q. With regard to that policy, what responsibilities are in place to govern how much information is shared between the leagues and the teams, how much information a team has to share with the league, and as we kind of learned yesterday, how much a club has to share with another club, if that club is interested in a player; how much information is required to go between those?

JOE TORRE: You know what, I can't -- I don't know the answer. I think I know the answer, you know, try to be as transparent as possible, obviously. But Dan hail would probably be best to answer that question for you, okay. I'm not trying to dodge it. I just want to make sure you get a thorough answer.

Q. As far as the trade, is it on hold from MLB, or is that a club decision?

JOE TORRE: That, as far as I'm concerned, that's a labor decision.

Q. Does Major League Baseball feel any pressure on this decision regarding Rays or Chapman in light of what the NFL has had to deal with?

JOE TORRE: Well, the pressure, I mean, the policy has been written and no, I don't think we feel any pressure. We just want to make sure that we have everything before we come down with whatever decision has to be implemented.

So I don't sense there's any pressure, other than paying attention to it and making sure that we do the right thing.