NEW YORK -- After all he had accomplished -- four World Series titles, 12 straight years in the playoffs, almost certain entry into the Hall of Fame -- and after all the indignities, this was one Joe Torre wasn't going to stand for.
He wasn't going to take a pay cut from the New York Yankees, no matter that he still would have been the highest-paid manager in baseball, and he certainly wasn't going to prove himself all over again.
Torre walked away Thursday, turning down a $5 million, one-year contract --
$2.5 million less than he made this season, when the Yankees failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year.
"A difficult day," general manager Brian Cashman said. "He will always be a Yankee."
Bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to replace Torre. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL manager of the year with Florida in 2006, is another top contender. Tony La Russa and Bobby Valentine could also be considered.
Most Yankees fans could see this day coming.
After losing the first two playoff games to the Cleveland Indians, owner George Steinbrenner said he didn't think Torre would be asked back if the Yankees didn't advance. New York hasn't won it all since 2000.