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Which manager is a better fit with his new team, Joe Torre or Joe Girardi?

Both managers arrive with high expectations. Torre's Dodgers are the National League's winningest franchise since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, and they're loaded with young talent. Girardi's Yankees are the greatest franchise in American sports history, and have reached the playoffs in 12 straight seasons. But questions abound. Can Torre, now 67, succeed with a sub-$200 million payroll? Can Girardi handle the voracious New York media for eight months? Conventional wisdom suggests that both managers will do quite well with their new teams. But is one a better fit than the other?

The Case for Joe T.

Torre's detractors will argue that he did little in New York that most managers couldn't have done, considering the Yankees' financial advantage. In 2007 the Yankees spent more money on player salaries than any other team in the majors. And the Dodgers? They spent more on salaries than any other team in the National League. So while the Dodgers' advantage certainly can't match the Yankees', Torre certainly doesn't have to worry about beating teams better-heeled than his own.

In a similar vein, Torre's detractors also will argue that tutoring young players isn't a strong suit, perhaps because in New York he's rarely had to. Well, it's certainly true that the Yankees simply bought most of their best players during Torre's tenure. But not all of them. Derek Jeter was a fine prospect when he arrived in the Bronx, but without Torre would he have become a future Hall of Famer? Similarly, while Jorge Posada may not wind up in Cooperstown, since joining the Yankees for good in 1997 he's become the third- or fourth-best catcher in franchise history. And more recently, both Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera have played key roles for the club. To be sure, Torre doesn't have a substantial ledger in this regard. But he hasn't been asked to build one.

What the Dodgers have lacked in recent years is stability. They've changed general managers, they've changed managers, and few players have been in place for more than a few seasons. Last year the old players were peeved at the young players and vice versa. What Torre brings is a firm guiding hand. He'll turn 68 shortly after the All-Star Game, but if he's still got the energy for job he might be exactly what the Dodgers need.

The Case for Joe G.

The Yankees are the only team in major league history to earn postseason berths in 13 straight years (and no, the Braves don't count; they missed in 1994 and might have missed even without the strike). Torre was their manager for the last 12 of those years. So it might seem strange to say the franchise needed to make a change. Except maybe it did. After all, despite their massive financial edge, the Yankees haven't won more than 97 games since 2004 -- and we're now 10 years removed from their last truly awesome season (1998). And of course they haven't won a World Series since 2000. So perhaps it really was time for a change.

Joe Girardi, though? Well, after the 1960 World Series the Yankees fired 70-year-old Casey Stengel, who'd managed the club to 10 American League pennants and seven World Championships in 12 years. Stengel was replaced by an ex-Yankee catcher, only 41 years old, named Ralph Houk. He'd managed a few seasons in the minors, but otherwise had little experience. But in Houk's three seasons as manager of the Yankees before being promoted to general manager, the Yankees averaged 103 wins per season. The organization had been watching Houk; just as the organization has been watching Girardi, an ex-Yankee catcher who's now 43 years old.

Even when Girardi was still playing for the Yanks, he was mentioned as a future manager. The Yankees continued to watch him as he guided the 2006 Marlins, who were supposed to lose more than 100 games, to a 78-84 record. And they really watched him in 2007 when he worked as an analyst with the club's YES Network, and always seemed like the smartest man in the booth. As the Yankees finally commit to younger players -- and particularly younger pitchers -- Girardi's experience with the young Marlins will be exceptionally useful. And at 43 he should have the energy for yet another tense summer and fall in the Bronx.

So what do you think? Is one a better fit than the other? Or will we perhaps be watching Torre's Dodgers and Girardi's Yankees in the World Series next October.

Vote: Which manager is a better fit for his new team?

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