Part of the reason he's always had veteran laden ball clubs is that's what Cashman has given him. He's worked in Melky Cabrera the last 2 years. Why wouldn't he play Ethier over Pierre.
Who are these speedy fast veteran players Torre has always favored. Only Kenny Lofton, who was there for a year and Tony Womack come to mind. Maybe Chuck Knoblauch? But even when he needed to be benched, Torre went with Shane Spencer.