As spring training nears to a close and the prospects for both their clubs look more and more gloomy, Joe Girardi and Terry Collins find themselves in a not so exclusive or enviable club.

That would be the endangered lame-duck managers club of eight skippers (nine if you count Fredi Gonzalez, who has a 2014 option the Atlanta Braves have not yet been inclined to pick up) who seemingly have to have greatly improved seasons, in some cases deep-into-the playoffs seasons, to keep their jobs.

It is decorated lot — 69-year old Charlie Manuel, the Phillies’ all-time victories leader who won five straight division titles, two NL pennants and a world championship; the Tigers’ 68-year-old Jim Leyland, a three-time manager of the year who led Detroit to AL pennants in 2006 and last season; Ron Gardenhire, who in 11 seasons with the Minnesota Twins has won six division titles and was named AL manager of the year as recently as 2010 — in addition to Don Mattingly with the Dodgers, Ned Yost with the Kansas City Royals, Eric Wedge with the Seattle Mariners, and Walt Weiss, the popular former Rockies shortstop who, with no previous professional managerial experience, was given only a one-year contract to try and resurrect them from last year’s disastrous 98-loss season.

So far Hal Steinbrenner has been very much unlike his demanding and impatient dad in terms of holding anyone accountable for the fact the Yankees have had the overwhelmingly highest payrolls in baseball since 2005 and have only one world championship and one trip to the World Series to show for it. It’s certainly not Girardi’s fault the Yankees have suddenly become old and injury-ridden and the player development department has no viable replacements coming at first base, third base, the outfield and (unless Eduardo Nunez proves capable defensively) shortstop. Word is, Boss Hal is waiting to see how this season plays out, and if it does turn into an on-field and off-field financial disaster he’s prepared to bring in a whole new management team. GM Brian Cashman keeps saying not to worry, his scrap-heap replacements will do the job and the Yankee pitching will carry them into the playoffs once again. And if it doesn’t? Who’s going to take the blame?

Collins, likewise, cannot be blamed for the Mets’ almost-as-deficient player development department that has left him empty in the outfield, or for the fact that his boss, Sandy Alderson, is general managing for 2014 and beyond. In his first two years as Mets manager, Collins lost 85 and 88 games respectively, and although he had his team over-achieving for much of those seasons, it’s clear that Alderson at least wants the losses to greatly lessen this year. No small task with the loaded Nationals and Braves in the same division. Already this spring, Collins’ frustration at the continuing Mets injuries and his lack of depth has been evident with his job on the line.