New York Yankees: Could Joe Girardi Get Fired If Bombers Don't Make Playoffs?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2012

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 03:  Manager Joe Girardi #28 of the New York Yankees watches his team during batting practice just before the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 3, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Their lead in the American League East is officially gone.

After losing to the Rays 5-2 and dropping yet another series, the Yankees, who once had a 10-game lead in mid-July, are now tied for first place in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles.

It hasn't just been one player or a couple of players who have contributed to this. Nope. Right now, the Yankees are flat-out terrible.

Since that 10-game lead in the division, they are 19-25 over their last 44 games, which is why the Orioles and Rays were both able to climb back in the division race.

Sure, injuries have been a major factor. Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira and Mariano Rivera are all currently on the sidelines, and Alex Rodriguez was on the DL until this past week.

But every team goes through injuries during the season, and I hate to say it, but nobody is going to feel sorry for the Yankees with their payroll if players get hurt.

On Tuesday, I speculated as to whether or not the Yankees were headed for a collapse similar to the one that the Red Sox and Braves went through last season.

And because of the collapse that Boston went through, Terry Francona didn't survive it; he was fired—despite bringing not one but two World Series in his tenure to Beantown.

Lets face it, Francona was one of the most loved managers not just in Red Sox history but in all of Boston sports.

Could the Yankees do the same with Girardi if they fail to make the playoffs in 2012?

I know it seems crazy, but I wouldn't be surprised. Girardi already missed the playoffs with the Yankees back in 2008, the first time since 1994's strike-shortened season.

Now don't get me wrong. Girardi has a World Series ring, but Girardi isn't exactly on the level of Joe Torre, Billy Martin or Casey Stengel here.

Last year, when the Red Sox fired Francona, his team had missed the postseason for a second straight season, and as if finishing 7-20 in September wasn't bad enough, there was the whole beer and chicken-wing scandal in the locker room.

There's no scandal to put the blame on Girardi with, but performance and results in New York are the only thing that matters in this town.

And right now, the Yankees are playing some of their worst baseball in recent history.

Sure, Teixeira, Pettitte and Rivera would all be nice to have back, but there is still enough talent on the current Yankees roster to win.

But the bottom line is that right now the Yankees aren't winning when they need to. Last September, they were pedal-to-the-metal and wrapped up the AL East, heading into the playoffs with some momentum.

This year, the Yankees are literally limping to the finish line and might not even make it to the division and maybe not even a Wild Card spot with the way things are going.

Something has to be done, because with as talented a group as the Yankees are, and with the kind of payroll they possess, this kind of losing is not acceptable.

Something has to give here, and someone has to shoulder the blame.

That's where Girardi might take the fall here. Yes, he won the World Series with this team in 2009.

That was also three years ago.

Since then, he's lost to the Rangers in the 2010 ALCS and got up-ended by the Tigers in the 2011 ALDS. And now, he could be staring at a playoff-less October for the second time in his career with the Yankees.

Joe Torre didn't miss the playoffs once when he was the Yankees skipper. Not once. And Girardi could be looking at it for a second time.

If in fact the Yankees do not make the playoffs in 2012, I could see the Yankees canning Girardi. It might not be the most popular decision to ever happen, but I could see it go down.

Unless Girardi's group does a total 180-degree turnaround and gets back on track, he could start to really feel the hot seat in the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.


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