With both Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel manning the helms of their ball clubs in the final year of their contracts, many wonder if either or both will still be with their respective clubs the next year. Which of them is most likely to be searching for work this offseason?
Charlie Manuel seems like the clear candidate of the two to be let go. Coming off an 81-81 season last year, the Phillies continue to struggle this year in a division which seems to strengthen with each passing year. Moreover, the front office has taken great pains and spent a great deal of money investing in big market players for Manuel to lead them to more titles, but the team is spiraling downward rather than becoming more competitive.
Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay were considered to be the most feared three man starter combo in the game, but under-performance and injuries to them and other position players have left Philadelphia with a lackluster team to support in the last few years. Their fan base is not one best known for patience or kindness, and the pressure on their front office to infuse a talented team with new managerial blood will be high. Many wonder if Manuel will even make it through the season without being replaced.
Joe Girardi currently manages a completely different situation under a new and often perplexing regime. The next generation of Steinbrenners seems far more interested in saving money than spending it; Yankee fans could no doubt easily envision Josh Hamilton in a Yankee uniform (for better or worse) were the late George Steinbrenner still running the show.
Despite a revolving door of personnel and a slew of major injuries to their biggest players, the Yankees have managed 95 wins or more each of the last four seasons, and remain a perpetual threat for the division title or wildcard every single season. Hanging the aging process and ensuing injuries of A-Rod, Jeter, and Rivera on Girardi seems unfair and irrational, which is also something the previous Steinbrenner regime was more likely to do than the current one. After all, Girardi finished up his career playing with Jeter and Rivera. The biggest challenge of the Yankees front office is to rebuild with youth and talent as the old guard retires and moves on from baseball. Firing Girardi only creates further upheaval, and fails to address their actual personnel issues.
Of the two, Manuel is far and away more likely to no longer be managing at his current post by the end of 2013. The possibility exists both will go, but by all indications New York is happy with the performance of their skipper, and is attempting to build a team with the requisite pieces to win a championship as opposed to merely fighting for a playoff berth. Both organizations demand winning, and currently Girardi is doing a far better job competing than Manuel. Manuel loses in the head to head battle this week, as there will very likely be more losses for him in the near future.
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Christian S. Kohl is a sports contributor for CBS Local Digital Media.