To the lay person, a vote of confidence might sound like a positive. You always want the confidence of your boss, so when a general manager says he has confidence in his manager, well, that sounds like the best possible thing. Right? Not to the sports fan. We’ve seen this song and dance plenty of times. Team is struggling. General manager or owner steps up and says he has complete confidence in the manager. Team slips a bit further. Manager gets fired.
In this way, Joe Girardi couldn’t have felt well after hearing Brian Cashman’s most recent comments. The supremely talented team, assembled by Cashman and helmed by Girardi, has been slipping of late, and more than a few fans have called for the manager’s head. That doesn’t seem to be in the immediate plans, but if we’re to believe that a vote of confidence puts the manager on the hot seat, Joe’s job may be on the line.
Sweeny Murti has Cashman’s gushing words about Girardi:
“I think Joe’s done an exceptional job,” Cashman said. “We’re scuffling right now for three weeks, but he’s not humped over, slumped over, he’s not down and out and woe is me or depressed or on edge or tight. He’s keeping his guys up, he’s keeping them positive.”
“He’s doing everything he needs to do,” Cashman concluded.
Translation: win or else. For his part, Girardi understands the implication. “I know the drill here,” he said. “You win or you go home.” Indeed. It’s a foregone conclusion that if the Yankees fail to make the playoffs for a second straight year, Girardi will spend the off-season tidying his resume.
Murti notes the lack of attractive in-house options should the Yanks can Girardi before the season ends. Realistically, if they so chose that path it would have to be Tony Pena. The 2003 AL Manager of the Year has been with the Yankees for a few years now. Not only would he be the leading option for a mid-season managerial change, but he’d have to be high on the list should Girardi not make it to 2010.
This isn’t the first time Girardi has received a vote of confidence from the Yankees brass. Back in September Hank Steinbrenner noted that “Joe will be back.” Yes, that sounds like a good thing, but again, the translation was, “Joe will be back, and if he loses again he’s out.” Yes, we like reading far, far into these statements given to the media.
Thankfully, the Yanks turned around a few weeks of poor hitting last night in their 8-4 win over the Braves. A win tonight would put the thought of firing Girardi further back in our minds.