New York Yankees playoff roster

With the Yankees clinching last night, I want to take a look at the possible Yankees playoff roster for the ALDS (as every quasi-related and fully related Yankees blog has done within the past 24 hours).

First, let’s take a look at those players who are a shoe-in to make the roster.

Catcher

Jorge Posada

Francisco Cervelli

Infield

Mark Teixeira

Robinson Cano

Derek Jeter

Alex Rodriguez

Lance Berkman

Outfield

Brett Gardner

Curtis Granderson

Nick Swisher

Marcus Thames

Austin Kearns

Starting Pitchers

CC Sabathia

Andy Pettitte

Phil Hughes

AJ Burnett

Relief Pitchers

Mariano Rivera

Dave Robertson

Kerry Wood

Joba Chamberlain

Boone Logan

For those of you counting at home, that is twenty-one players who pretty much have a spot locked up. That means there are four open slots on the roster. I would guess they would take an extra infielder defense, an extra outfielder for defense, and two pitchers considering pitching is a concern. I do not think they will take a third catcher for a five game series.

The available options for the infield are Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez. Personally, I would take Pena. While Nunez might be a better hitter, neither should be in the game for offense. The only playing time they should get is to base run or to replace A-Rod/Jeter on defense. Pena has a better glove and their base running skills offset, so give me Pena.

In the outfield the only option is Greg Golson. He would also be the main pinch runner and could be a defensive replacement for the hobbling Nick Swisher, or Marcus Thames if a situation occurs where he had to hit for Brett Gardner or Curtis Granderson late in a game.

Now comes starting pitching. The options here include Javy Vazquez, Ivan Nova, Dustin Moseley, Chad Guadin, Sergio Mitre, Royce Ring, and possibly Demaso Marte. Ring was in AAA all season and Marte is supposed to still be hurt, so I won’t even consider them. That leaves Vazquez, Nova, Moseley, Gaudin, and Mitre. Chad Gaudin has been all season so throw him out. Throw out Moseley since he hasn’t been great either. Despite recent struggles, I am bringing Javy Vazquez. He could be effective for a few innings at a time. The same goes for Ivan Nova. I know Sergio Mitre has been on the team all season and is a good GB pitcher, but Nova is just better. I think he could dominate for 2-3 innings where his fastball will be juiced up.

So my final roster is:

C- Posada, Cervelli

IF- Teixeira, Cano, Rodriguez, Jeter, Berkman, Pena

OF- Gardner, Granderson, Swisher, Thames, Kearns, Golson

SP- Sabathia, Pettitte, Hughes, Burnett

RP- Rivera, Robertson, Wood, Chamberlain, Logan, Vazquez, Nova

Despite our so-so performance the past two months, I’m feeling confident about this team on paper.

In my opinion, if we start out on the road, Phil should start game two. He is a mega FB/HR pitcher, so he pitches well on the road. Presumably the Yankees would be facing the Twins if they are the Wild Card team and the Twins play at Target Field, a big ballpark. That can help Phil out with his fly ball tendencies. So the Game 1 and Game 2 match-ups would be Sabathia/Liriano and Hughes/Pavano. Then Game 3 would be Pettitte/Duenseng. While the Twins are throwing good pitchers, I feel comfortable with those match-ups. It’s game four that could be scary with Burnett pitching. That is why I think we should throw a combo of Burnett/Vazquez/Nova. To limit the potential damage of each pitcher, each guy should get about one go around of the opponent’s lineup. It’s a strategy endorsed by Tom Tango as well, considering that the more times through a lineup a pitcher goes, the worse his wOBA Against is.

If the Yankees start at home, they would be play Texas. In this case, I would throw CC and Pettitte at home, and throw Phil game 3. For Game 4 I would still do the same thing I mentioned earlier.

Obviously I’d love to win the division and play Texas, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable about playing Minnesota. They will be a tough team, but not unbeatable. With four super good teams, the AL playoffs should be one of the more exciting playoffs in recent history.

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