“If The Boss Was Still Alive” Watch: George Steinbrenner was absent from Joe Torre’s Hall of Fame speech

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Here’s the back page of the New York Post today:

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A dude leads the local nine to 12 consecutive playoff appearances, six pennants and four World Series titles and they lead with some invented slight of a guy who has been dead for years. And who, according to Tom Verducci’s book “The Yankee Years,” had other candidates in mind besides Torre and who, even after Torre was hired, was allegedly working behind the scenes to see if Showalter would come back.

That intrigue aside, Steinbrenner was way more hands off than he had been once he came back from his Dave Winfield-Howie Spira suspension in 1993. Gene Michael and his men were running the Yankees on a day-to-day basis, not George. Obviously he would have final say, but it’s safe to say that Torre owned gratitude to more than just George Steinbrenner for his tenure as Yankees manager.

All of that said, Torre himself said afterward that he regretted omitting Steinbrenner, thereby validating this as a “scandal.” But what this is really about can be seen in the stories about it:

Later, talking to a small group of reporters, the 74-year-old Torre was asked how Steinbrenner might have handled the omission if he were still alive. “That would have made me feel better,” he said. “At least he would have yelled at me: ‘You ungrateful such, such and such.’ “

The New York press will never, apparently, drop the notion that what the long-dead George Steinbrenner might think matters.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.