The 70-year-old Torre is in the final year of a three-year, $13 million contract as manager. He broke off negotiations for an extension during Spring Training, saying he wasn't sure how much he wanted to work after this year.
Those talks also involved a front-office role after he stepped down as manager, presumably to be replaced in the dugout by hitting coach and Torre protégé, Don Mattingly.
Torre previously said he would make his announcement in September. Saturday he said it would be after Labor Day, and when pressed on the timetable, he said the team's fate needs to be determined first so there would be no distraction.
"When I stopped doing [negotiations] this spring, I didn't want to be a distraction, and if we're in a pennant race, this is not taking precedence over that," he said. "I'm not letting that get in the way. As long as we have air to breathe."
But he also said he doesn't want to delay a decision longer than necessary in fairness to the club and its ability to plan for the future. He previously said it's unlikely he would manage anywhere else, although he hasn't completely ruled it out. He also repeated earlier comments, "I'm very comfortable here," meaning with the Dodgers.
"I have to let them know, that's only fair," Torre said. "If they have to search for another manager, I know the assumption is it's Donnie, but I don't think it's cut and dried at this time. It's not fair to him really. They're the ones that have to make that decision -- ownership, Ned [Colletti, general manager] and all that stuff."
With speculation increasing that Torre will not return, he reiterated that his decision will be influenced by time management.
"I'm certainly not losing sleep over it," he said. "I have to make a decision and that will be it. I still have no idea what I would do if I don't manage. Do I enjoy this? Sure, I hate losing like anybody. I enjoy the process, but it's a long time from mid-February until, I'd like to think, the end of October. Not a lot of time for yourself. That weighs heavily."
He said a front-office role would probably be a limited one.
"I don't know how much, but I still want to be involved in baseball," he said. "The only security I have is that I know what I'm doing. If the decision is that I'm not coming back, I have to find out the options and what they are."
Torre said he talks about the decision with his wife, but apparently it's been a subject for discussion between them for nearly two decades.
"She doesn't believe me that I'm thinking about not doing this," he said. "I've threatened a few times. She did believe initially. After the first year with the Yankees, we won the World Series and she was like, 'Well? Let's go open a flower shop in Hawaii,' which she knows won't happen."