Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thinking about the Postseason Roster

The Yankees have some choices to make regarding their roster heading into the postseason. Most of the spots are locks, but there are others that are up for grabs, and it can be taken by a pitcher or a position player. First off, the Yankees infield is set. Locks for the postseason roster in terms of position players are: Russell Martin, Chris Stewart, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Brett Gardner fits on the roster because of his speed and now that he has the ability to hit, I don't think Girardi would mind at all to give him late inning at-bats after coming into a game to pinch run.

Pitchers who are locks for the roster are: CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and David Phelps.

In my opinion, the most optimal thing to do in terms of the rotation alignment would be to start Sabathia in game one followed by Pettitte in game two. That means having Kuroda pitch the home opener and having Hughes follow in a game four. The reasoning behind that is because Kuroda and Hughes have both pitched great at home this season. Giving Andy Pettitte more rest than he has already gotten may throw him off because he is a guy who reacts to long rests.

That leaves the Yankees with two tough decisions. Who will occupy the final two spots on the roster? Position players who seem to be on the brink include Andruw Jones, Casey McGehee, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson. Right off the bat, you eliminate Cervelli from the mix assuming Martin will catch every inning of every game barring injury. Stewart is going to sit on the bench anyway. Having Dickerson on the lineup seems redundant because you already have Gardner on the bench as a left-handed bat serving the same purpose Dickerson would be serving. Casey McGehee doesn't look like a fit despite being a right-handed bat in the infield. However, should something happen to Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher is totally capable of taking Teixeira's spot at first. Same deal with Alex Rodriguez who has Eric Chavez to back him up. That leaves Andruw Jones. Jones looks like he is finished. He hit well under .200 in the second half of the season and his lefty/righty splits are equally appalling. He does not give you confidence in the field anymore as he has looked terrible in the outfield many times this season. However, Jones is still a home run threat off the bench despite being terrible this season outside his run in early July against Boston.

Assuming Joe Girardi does not include Jones on the roster, which I am starting to believe he won't, it gives the manager two additional relievers to work with. With the final two spots, it would not surprise me at all to see Derek Lowe and Cody Eppley to occupy the final two roster spots. Girardi likes to mix-and-match and giving him more of these options would serve as optimal choices. The roster will likely be annouced tomorrow as the Yankees report to the Stadium for workouts.

Sorry Andruw, but it looks like your Yankee career is over.

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