First Look At The Potential Postseason Roster

With September rapidly approaching and the Yankees having a large lead in the wild card chase, a major theme over the next few weeks will be the construction of the postseason roster. While many of the spots are taken by players who are obvious choices to make the team, there are a few roster slots that the Yankees could utilize in a variety of ways and are still up for grabs. Furthermore, while it is unlikely, extreme performances by either those in the lead for the final spots or by September call-ups could alter the race for the last 4 or 5 spots considerably over the next few weeks.

Locks

Everyday Players

C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
DH v. LHP: Andruw Jones

Bench

Utility: Eduardo Nunez
BUC: Francisco Cervelli

Pitchers

CC Sabathia
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia
Bartolo Colon
Mariano Rivera
David Robertson
Rafael Soriano
Boone Logan
Corey Wade

These 20 players are almost certain to make the team, provided they do not get injured, or for some of them (Colon and Wade, for example), do not entirely tank over the last month of the season. While some might quibble over the makeup of the rotation, I really do not see much room for argument here. The Yankees have had 4 effective starters this season, and I expect all of them to make the roster. Even if they only use 3 in the ALDS, the 4th will likely be taken as a long man.

The Rest

Luis Ayala
Hector Noesi
Phil Hughes
AJ Burnett
Eric Chavez
Jorge Posada
Jesus Montero
Chris Dickerson

(predicted choices in italics)

The first issue is whether the Yankees will carry 11 or 12 pitchers. In the ALDS, considering that they may actually be carrying a starter who will be acting as a long man, I think they will take 11 pitchers, which leaves us with 2 more pitching slots to deal with. Hector Noesi has earned a slot and should make the team. Outside of two terrible relief outings that have marred his statistics a bit, he has been fantastic. He has the stuff to succeed in short relief and the versatility and arm strength to sop up innings, which makes him a strong choice for the postseason roster. As for the second spot, I think Luis Ayala likely has a hold on it at this point, but I expect that Phil Hughes will be given every opportunity to steal that spot and make the team. Unless AJ Burnett is stellar out of the bullpen in September, he is likely the odd man out.

As for the bench, I expect Jorge Posada to end up as the DH against RHP, although the roster would likely be more flexible if he was left off it entirely and Eric Chavez won that spot. However, assuming he does win the DH job, that leaves Chavez, Montero, and Dickerson for the final two slots. Ideally, Montero would play well enough to force the Yankees to carry him as another bench option against lefties, and the Yankees would take Dickerson as an extra pinch runner and potential defensive replacement. I see that as being fairly unlikely, and expect Chavez and Dickerson to round out the 25-man roster.

9 thoughts on “First Look At The Potential Postseason Roster

  1. Bpdelia

    It may be crazy but im hoping montero hits enough to move cervelli to a maybe. Buc isnt neeDed postseason. Into the past it was but martin is durable and wonderful defensively. This isnt 09 where buc will get starts

  2. roadrider

    “…Dickerson as an extra pinch runner and potential defensive replacement”

    Whom would Dickerson pinch-run for? The only OF he could conceivably run for is Swisher and then you’re trading a very good bat for a bad one if Dickerson doesn’t score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th or winning run in the 9th inning on. The only other guy I could see him running for is Tex resulting Dickerson moving to RF and Swisher to 1B which is arguably even a worse trade at the plate. Furthermore, you’d be trading Tex’s defense at 1B for Swisher’s which probably cancels out any upgrade Dickerson has over Swisher in RF (1B defense is much more important than RF defense especially in the late innings when Mo is likely to be pitching).

    Carrying any guy mostly for the purposes of pinch running is, in my opinion, a waste of a roster spot and is nothing more than a temptation for over managing by small ball cultists (we don’t know any managers like that do we?).

    Much the same argument can be made against carrying Dickerson as a defensive replacement. Whom would he replace? Again, Swisher is the only choice. If Jones is in as the LF then Gardner is on the bench and who’s a better defensive replacement than him? If Jones is on the bench he’s a perfectly serviceable defensive replacement (if he has to go in for Granderson than Gardner shifts over to CF).If Jones is the DH and you need him in the OF than, OK, you’d lose the DH but that’s a very unlikely scenario.

    I think that spot should be Montero’s to lose. He has to show something if and when he’s called up but there seems to be little doubt about his bat and I think he very likely has more value as a pinch hitter and potential DH than anything Dickerson can offer as a backup OF and/or pinch runner.

    • That’s fair. I definitely see the value of another bat against lefties. That said, I think as a runner for whoever the DH is in a big spot definitely has some value. And really, where is Montero hitting?

      • roadrider

        What’s wrong with Nunez as the pinch-runner? Yes, you then lose him as an infield backup but he’s only likely to be used as a runner late in the game and at that point do you really need him as a defensive replacement for Jeter, A-Rod or Cano (do you really need him in that capacity in any case?).

        I’ll admit that if you burn Nunez as a pinch runner and then some infielder breaks a leg you’re screwed for that game but that’s an acceptable risk in my opinion.

        I’m not sure I understand your question about where Montero would be hitting. Do you mean in the lineup if he’s the DH? Who cares? Bat him 9th. Bat him 8th or 6th. Does it really make a difference?

        • Good point on Nunez.

          On Montero, I meant in the postseason, who is he hitting for? In what context?

          • roadrider

            Yes, I see your point on Montero as a PH. One obvious answer is that if the Yanks reach the WS he could hit for any pitcher. In the ALDS and ALCS there’s admittedly less need but say Girardi keeps indulging CC’s Cervelli fetish and Frankie is scheduled to hit in a key spot (yes, I know that then you’d be down to Posada as a backup C since Martin would undoubtedly replace Cervelli behind the plate).

            Another scenario is if Posada is the DH then you could use Montero if the opposition brings in a lefty to turn Jorge around to his weaker side (or just the threat of Montero to keep a less effective RHP in the game) while preserving Jones (or the other way around).

            In any case, I think there are at least as many ways that Montero (again, if he proves worthy in his audition) could be useful than there are with Dickerson. Furthermore, I think the ways Montero could be used (hitting) are a lot more valuable than what Dickerson would be used for (pinch running, backup OF).

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  4. bornwithpinstripes

    manny b..if ex met or marte are not ready.. if not we can not beat texas or sox without two lefties ..see last year vs texas..montero hit another HR tonight.. he needs to make the roster..

  5. Steve

    This is where it’s come to with Hughes, where he’s not a lock to even make the team? That’s where I disagree – I think he is a lock. That said, his only role on this team in the post-season will be as a mop up/long man. If that doesn’t motivate him to come into camp in shape and improve himself, then nothing will

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