Over the last two seasons, the Yankees have been a disappointment. They missed the postseason for two years in a row and witnessed legends hanging up their cleats for the final time in their legendary Hall-of-Fame careers. But lost in the two back-to-back seasons where the Yankees didn’t make the postseason was Joe Girardi‘s impressive handling of the roster.
Injuries were bound to happen, it’s an inevitable part of the game and the Yankees had their fair share of them. What was inspiring was how Joe Girardi quickly adapted to the situations and kept the team afloat, even when they had their naysayers.
— CC Sabathia missed the rest of the season with a knee injury? Masahiro Tanaka missed time for his elbow? Michael Pineda only made 13 starts in the season? No problem: Girardi put Shane Greene and Chase Whitley in the rotation while Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano came over from the trade/free agent market.
Girardi is many things, but one of the things is he’s a great manager and he figures out a way to fill the holes on the roster when the inevitable happens. He also managed to keep the Yankees in second place last year despite the team having a negative run differential (-31). However, Girardi hasn’t led the Yankees to the postseason since 2012 where the Yankees were swept in four games by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
If there’s one way to describe the New York fans, it’s their quite demanding; for them it’s either World Series or bust. The Yankees (on paper) don’t have the components to be a World Series-caliber team, but they are desperate to make it to the postseason, and despite Girardi being in the second year of a four-year extension, he could end up being in the hot seat if the Yankees fail to enter the postseason for a third year in a row.
Does Girardi deserve to be in the hot seat? No. His job is to make sure his players are healthy and to make strategic moves with the roster he has. He can’t go out there and hit for Mark Teixeira. He can’t go out there and pitch for Dellin Betances. He can’t go out there and steal for Jacoby Ellsbury. He can’t go and sign players for Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner. All he can do is sit in the dugout with his challenge in hand and watch the game unfold, whether it’d be in his favor or not.
If the Yankees don’t make the postseason, everyone is going to find a scapegoat, and unfortunately Girardi appears in danger of becoming that scapegoat should the team fail. Is it unfair? Yes. Has Girardi been nothing but a great manager to the team? Yes. But all of Girardi’s hard work and dedication won’t matter if the team can’t produce a winning season and they miss the postseason–again.