New York Yankees

There are quite a few million-dollar questions regarding the New York Yankees, but one will never go away: Is Joe Girardi on the hot seat?

By William Chase

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka reported all is good after throwing off a mound for the first time since offseason surgery on his throwing elbow.

The Yankees have just about made it to Spring Training without signing a single Major League free agent.

This team might be good enough to make the playoffs, but it could be just good enough to contend, while falling short.

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There are tons of questions, but in answering one of the million dollar questions, Is Joe Girardi on the hot seat? 

Yes. Of course he is.

Everyone is on the hot seat in New York. Should he be fired for anything short of the World Series, let alone short of a playoff berth? Of course not.

There will always be those clamoring for changing of the guard. Whether it’s fans on social media, or those calling in on talk radio, they might make suggestions based off what good ole George Steinbrenner, The Boss, would have done.

I’ve seen people wish for Sweet Lou, or trying to compare Joe Torre with Girardi, and vice-versa.

Stop. Just stop.

Why does anyone think Lou Piniella would be any better as a manger with these Yankees, than Girardi? Same for Torre. For one, Lou is 72 years-old, the latter in Torre, is 75. They’re both comfortably occupying other baseball roles.

Fans speak in the moment. They’re emotional. Fans—fanatics—probably aren’t serious about bringing back Lou, and they know Joe is not coming back, but a majority will still want Girardi out.

Girardi is closing in on becoming the 5th winningest manager in Yankees history, just 209 behind Ralph Houk.

At 735-561, Girardi has guided the Yankees to a winning record in each of his eight seasons in The Bronx; The 2009 World Series title; The best record in baseball in 2009 and 2012.

The team endured offensive juggernauts, before turning ice cold in October. New York said goodbye to two icons in consecutive years—Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter—and dealt with the Mark Teixeira injuries, the Alex Rodriguez suspension, the loss of Robinson Cano via free agency.

All the while the team, nothing like the teams Torre had the luxury of guiding, were still expected to be the best, even though it was clear they were not.

This is not making excuses for Girardi. It’s taking nothing away from Torre. Both are excellent managers in different eras. Torre inherited Jeter, Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

He brought and exerted confidence, and together, formulated just plain, good winning baseball. It was the perfect manager for the perfect teams. Maybe Girardi has entered The Didi Gregorius era. Or maybe Greg Bird, when he’s expected to take the first base reigns in 2017. Assuming Girardi is still around, right?

Maybe the last three years have burned out the light that stood from the 2009 championship. But lets not act like the Yankees pulled a Boston Red Sox-type season; last place after winning the World Series. When is the last time the Yankees finished in last place? Let alone with a losing record?

This isn’t to say the Yankees’ fans should be happy, or content, that they are just competitive at the very least. It’s putting into perspective the situation.

Who is out there Yankees fans? What manager is going to ensure the offense consistently hits, the pitching holds up and the lineup hits in the postseason?

How many times did The Boss keep Torre dangling on a string, only to decide he could come back for at least one more season? Before the first slump of the season brought up the dreaded question:

Is the skip on the hot seat? Of course. This is life in New York.

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William Chase is editor at Elite Sports NY, and has been featured on such prominent websites including Bleacher Report. William is also currently the Marketing & Media Relations Intern for the Augusta GreenJackets.