A couple of observations. As far as the pitching goes, this is a really easy exercise, as Derek Lowe is the only real bubble candidate, and the other 10 are all but guaranteed a spot. I suppose Clay Rapada doesn’t seem like a lock based on his recent usage, but he is an effective LOOGY, so there aren’t any alternatives who would seem to bring more to the table than his potential platoon advantage. The guy left out in the cold here is Cody Eppley, and I’m not really sure that the Yankees will indeed carry Lowe over him. Joe Girardi has been happy to use Eppley as a right-handed ground ball guy pretty much all year, but Lowe is pitching pretty well again, is a ground ball specialist himself, and has the whole veteran experience and ability to work a lot of innings things going for him. We’re basically talking about the last pitcher on the roster here, so I think those factors put Lowe ahead, and I’m cool with that.
The position players seem a bit murkier, but I don’t think it really is. Obviously the eight regular starters are locks, as are Stewart, Nunez, Chavez, and Ibanez. While nothing has been confirmed yet, I also think Gardner might as well be considered a guarantee for the roster as well. Given that he’s been cleared to hit, it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t take him for a bench spot, as there’s certainly no better available option to run and play defense late in a game. That gets us to 13 spots filled, with only McGehee and Andruw Jones left. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer between these two guys, honestly,and neither is likely to get much playing time, but I don’t think they’re going to go with Jones after sitting him down altogether against Jon Lester. Then again, they didn’t start McGehee in his place, and haven’t really seemed to have much use for him since acquiring Steve Pearce, so I really don’t have any idea which way they’ll go here. Ultimately it may be decided based on whether Chavez or Ibanez is going to function as the starting DH against right-handed pitchers.