New York Yankees: Could Joe Girardi Be on Hot Seat If Struggles Get Worse?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IMay 22, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18:  Manager of the New York Yankees, Joe Girardi walks to the dugout agianst the Cincinnati Redsat Yankee Stadium on May 18, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

It's never fair to put a manager on the hot seat when it's only the month of May.

However, the Yankees' struggles have continued to get worse, and on Monday night, it didn't get any better for them at home.

After the Cincinnati Reds took two out of three from the Yankees over the weekend, the Yankees kicked off their series with the Kansas City Royals, who were 16-24 coming into the game. We're not talking about a juggernaut of a team here—the Royals aren't that good. On Monday, though, the Yankees sure made them look like they were.

The Yankees offense made Felipe Paulino look like a Cy Young candidate with his performance, although his 1.42 ERA is very impressive.

On the other side, Hiroki Kuroda again didn't pitch terribly, but he got no run support whatsoever. Zero.

And it's not like the Yankees had no chances to strike on Paulino. In the bottom of the third, the Yankees had bases loaded and nobody out, and you could feel a big inning was about to happen.

It never did.

Robinson Cano struck out for the first out. Alex Rodriguez struck out for the second out. Raul Ibanez flied out for the third out. And just like that, Paulino escapes unharmed.

After that, the Yankees might as well have put the bats back in the rack and not even bothered coming out for the rest of the game, because it was over.

The lack of offense and the lack of urgency with the Yankees is getting to be a trend, and it's quite shocking. The Yankees usually have the never-say-die, swing-until-the-last-out type attitude, but lately, they haven't had that fire.

If George Steinbrenner were still alive, this would be where he flips over his table, kicks over a chair and demands Joe Girardi to come to his office for a heart-to-heart talk—one many managers would dread.

However, Hal Steinbrenner is running the team, and he runs things differently from his father. He's more level-headed and focused on the business side, but where is that Steinbrenner passion for winning?

Certainly Hal has to have some of his father's pride and will to win in him, and even he can't stand to see the team perform like this because a lousy Yankees team will eventually mean empty seats.

And if this trend keeps happening, it might be time to make a change in the dugout.

With the lack of offense, you might have to wonder if hitting coach Kevin Long might be on the hot seat as far as his job goes, and if he were to be shown the door, it wouldn't surprise me. Long works very hard with the players, but in today's game, it's the "what have you done for me lately?" attitude, and if the Yankee hitters continue to struggle, Long may need to find work elsewhere.

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 3:  Joe Girardi #28 manager of the New York Yankees watches his team play against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium May 3, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

What if it gets worse from here, though? What if, god forbid, the Yankees find themselves all alone in last place by the time June rolls around? Would Joe Girardi then find himself on the hot seat in New York?

Sure, Girardi guided the Yankees to the 2009 World Series, but since then, it's been a few disappointing ends to their seasons. They lost in the ALCS to the Rangers in 2010 and again in the ALDS to the Tigers in 2011. Both could have been avoided if not for Girardi mismanaging a few things in both series.

And now in 2012, the Yankees are tied for last place in the AL East at 21-21. They were 20-15 on May 14 before this slump began.

Sure, there have been injuries to this team, like the loss of Mariano Rivera for the entire season, and trips to the disabled list for David Robertson and Brett Gardner, plus Mark Teixeira has been battling a very bad cough.

The better teams overcome the injuries, though, because in a 162-game schedule, every team deals with them.

Remember, however: This is the New York Yankees. This is a team that in 17 years has only missed the playoffs once. This is a team with a billion-dollar stadium, the highest payroll in the sport and higher expectations put on it than any other team.

If the struggles continue on, it might be time to shake things up in the Bronx.

And yes, that might mean Girardi, too, because despite the success he has had, even he can be let go if a change is needed to be made. And if you don't think it can happen, just look back to Joe Torre in 2007, and he had won four World Series for the Yankees.

For Yankee fans all over, all they can hope for is that the slump ends and the Yankees figure this all out before things get worse and, in a month's time, this is all forgotten about.

However, if not, the younger Steinbrenner may need to draw in his inner George and make some drastic changes.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.