The end of the Joe Torre era was inevitable, anyway, and frankly, I'm not necessarily sure I'll be sad to see him leave at this point. Yes, we won 4 World Series, and made the postseason 12 years in a row, but there's some pretty obvious reasons why we failed over the last few years, and some of those reasons are Torre's fault. He had no idea how to manage a bullpen over the course of a season, for one thing - the "Joba Rules" were created so that Torre, specifically, wouldn't fuck him up.
I love Joe Torre, as his players do, but I think crazy ol' George might actually have a point here, as unreasonable as it may sound. If you're going to have the largest payroll in sports, and pay your manager more than anybody else in the game, you would expect to be able to get out of the first round of the playoffs. Now, I'm not saying Torre is the reason why we lost to Cleveland; frankly, the guy I'm most unhappy with is Jeter, who seemingly killed every rally we got going and grounded into 17 double plays over the last 4 games.
The 96, 98, 99 and 00 championship teams featured a young, confident team with great pitching, timely offense and great chemistry - you could see that they all genuinely loved playing with each other. From 2001 on, though, things changed somewhat - the team got older and moved away from developing players through its farm system in favor of signing overpriced free agents, and the chemistry was gone. In the last few years, the Yankees always seemed to feel better and play better when its rookies started getting playing time and producing - everyone seemed to loosen up. I actually feel pretty good about the 2008 Yankees - our pitching staff will be younger and we'll have thrown off a lot of dead weight. All the teams that have won since 2001 have followed the Yankee model; small ball, young players, good chemistry. They can get there again.