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Joe Torre joining Rick Caruso in bid to buy Dodgers

January 4, 2012 |  7:43 am

Torre_640Joe Torre resigned his executive position at Major League Baseball on Wednesday to join with Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso in bidding to buy the Dodgers.

If the bid were successful, Torre could oversee the Dodgers' baseball operations. He would not return as manager.

"I have great confidence in Rick Caruso's unique qualifications and his ability to lead a successful bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers," Torre said in a statement. "In Rick I found a partner who understands consumers and fully appreciates that the Dodgers are a treasured L.A. institution. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have seen firsthand Rick's dedication to business and people in Los Angeles. I am very excited about this new opportunity."

Torre, who managed the New York Yankees to four World Series championships, managed the Dodgers from  2008-10 and worked last year as an executive vice president at MLB. Caruso, who has considered running for mayor of Los Angeles, is perhaps best known for the Grove, the highly successful shopping and entertainment center adjacent to Farmers Market.

He is focused on buying the Dodgers as a baseball team and has no current plan to develop the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, according to a person who has spoken with him. Outgoing owner Frank McCourt is not obligated to include that land in the sale of the team.

"The Dodgers are an iconic franchise, and I am thrilled to partner with Joe Torre, one of baseball's all-time greats, to launch a bid for this storied organization," Caruso said in a statement. "Joe has a proven track record of fielding winning teams and I am looking forward to our group benefiting from his unique experience. 

"I am a lifelong Angeleno; I love this city and have dedicated my career to creating world-class destinations that support this community and foster great customer experiences. Joe and I believe in the Dodgers and Dodger fans and know that together we will foster a winning culture and deliver a premier, fan-focused baseball experience at Dodger Stadium."

The investment banker working with Caruso and Torre is Byron Trott of BDT Capital in Chicago, described in this London Evening Standard article as the only banker Warren Buffett trusts.

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 — Bill Shaikin

Photo: Joe Torre in February 2012. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

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