Jon Heyman runs through his list of eight managers on the hot seat, and number 2 on his ledger is our very own Joe Girardi:
Girardi’s $200 million Yankees team won 89 games despite injuries and underperformance. Yet, it was the first empty October after 12 straight year of postseason play under his legendary predecessor Joe Torre (and 13 straight playoff appearances overall). And while Girardi has two years to go on his three-year, $6.8-million contract (chump change compared to what Torre turned down, but still pretty good money), he knows he better make the playoffs this year to return for the final year of his deal.
“There’s a mandate every year for the Yankees (to make the playoffs), and I understand that. I understand if you don’t win, you don’t usually stay,” Girardi said. “It’s win or go home. You understand when you accept this job that if you don’t win there’s a good chance you won’t be here. That’s the nature of this job…..”
Girardi is generally thought to be at least Torre’s equal in terms of on-field strategy, and truth be told, he’s probably ahead of Torre on that score. He prepares like crazy and doesn’t miss too many tricks. The place where he still has work to do to catch up to Torre is in the clubhouse. Girardi seems relaxed again this spring (just like last spring), but he must learn to maintain a composed manner once the season starts. While it’s impossible to match Torre’s calm, mature demeanor, Girardi needs to come closer to it. His bosses will site improvement needed in his relationship with the media, but it wouldn’t hurt to establish a better rapport with more players, especially some more of the stars from the dynasty teams, stars that were once his teammates.
While I do think that Joe’s seat is getting warm, I am not so sure that he will get the axe if the Yankees repeat 2008. If Joe Torre’s Dodgers makes the postseason again, I have a hard time seeing the Yankees admitting their error and firing Torre’s replacement. I think that they will let Girardi finish his contract, and then make a decision on him going forward based on his 3 year body of work.
What do you think? Is Joe on the hot seat? Should he be?
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