Is Joe Girardi on the hot seat? According to Neal Best at Newsday, yes.

Yup, Joe Girardi, who has four fewer rings as a manager than Torre and seven fewer than Stengel. (And, come to think of it, seven fewer than Joe McCarthy, whom the Yankees forced out in ’46.)

That’s what happens when you fail to lead the Most Famous Brand in American Sports to the playoffs and spar with the media just in time to move into a new stadium full of very expensive seats and suites in the middle of an economic meltdown.

I’m not too sure on this. Yes, the Yankees have high, quite lofty, expectations of their team, but I don’t think Girardi should be on the hot seat for the 2009 season. Girardi did a pretty decent job last year, he got the fourth best record in the AL, in spite of all the injuries — remember Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, Ian Patrick Kennedy, Chien Ming-Wang, Johnny Damon and Joba Chamberlain ALL at one point during the season were on the DL or were injured on the bench. If any other team was like that, they’d spiral downward.

Not the Yankees. They kept things competitive, even getting one game behind the Red Sox at one point in the late season (typical Boston September spiral).

With a vastly improved rotation and an more effective first baseman, along with the return of the aforementioned players (but with a suspect outfield), the Yankees are primed to do much better, perhaps win 95 games. Is that enough to get into the playoffs? It all depends on how the Tampa Bay Rays perform after a World Series year and how the Red Sox perform in the post-Manny era.

So, the fault is not Girardi’s and it’s not fair to put him on the hot seat.

Photo credit above from Newsday.