Friday Morning Food For Thought: Picking The Yankee Playoff Roster

The Yankees are not in the postseason.  Again.  That reality hit home again last night when the divisional round kicked off and it got me thinking.  What would their roster have looked like if they did make the postseason?  They would have been in trouble if rosters didn't expand in September with how banged up they were, so what 25 guys would Joe have taken to try to avoid getting swept by the Angels?  Yes, I'm assuming the Yanks would have made it as the second Wild Card and gotten trucked by Anaheim.  Partially for fun, partially because I still don't like thinking about how terrible they were this season, here's my attempt at building the 25-man postseason roster. Starting Lineup:

1) Jacoby Ellsbury- CF 2) Derek Jeter- SS 3) Brett Gardner- LF 4) Brian McCann- C 5) Mark Teixeira- 1B 6) Carlos Beltran- DH 7) Chase Headley- 3B 8) Stephen Drew- 2B 9) Ichiro Suzuki- RF

Starting Rotation:

1) Hiroki Kuroda 2) Michael Pineda 3) Masahiro Tanaka 4) Brandon McCarthy

Bullpen: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, Chris Capuano, David Huff, Shane Greene

Bench: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Pirela, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, Eury Perez

That's a really banged up starting 9.  4 of the top 6 hitters had injuries that were bad enough or should have been bad enough to shut them down for the year.  If the playoffs were in play, I have to think all 4 would play through though, for better or worse.  If Beltran couldn't go, Young steps in as the DH.

In the rotation, I imagine Joe wouldn't want to put the pressure of a Game 1 start on Tanaka when he was coming back from injury and not stretched out.  He gets bumped down to 3 and the veteran Hirok gets the ball first.  If Tanaka was healthier or at least pitching better than he did in his final regular season start, that's a rotation that you can go to battle with in a 5-game series.

The bullpen would be constructed mainly to cover for Tanaka if he was unable to pitch deep into game 3.  Greene is there as his handcuff, Capuano would be there as a potential long man or lefty specialist if late-game situations called for it, and I gave Huff the nod over David Phelps because Joe loves his lefties and Phelps really hasn't pitched well since coming off the DL.  It's hard to make a case for him over any of the final 3 guys.

The bench wouldn't be much.  Young and Cervelli are the only proven MLB-quality bats.  But Pirela could be a spark plug after his strong late-September run, and Perez would be a good defensive replacement or pinch running option late in games.

This roster isn't very good.  That's a given.  The Yankees would be hard pressed to win a series against any other playoff team with this group, just like they were hard pressed to win regular season games in September to even get to the playoffs.  Once again, going through this exercise and looking at who would make up the roster almost makes it a blessing in disguise that the Yankees missed the postseason.