The New York Yankees open the postseason Friday, playing either the Detroit Tigers or Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series. Let's try to guess what the 25-man roster manager Joe Girardi constructs will look like as the Yankees pursue their 28th World Series title.
Girardi has several interesting decisions to make.
Official postseason roster announced. There are a few differences from the predictions I made below.
Starting Pitchers (4) -- CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett
Pretty obvious here. The Yankees have already announced that Phil Hughes will be in the bullpen. As for Bionic Bartolo Colon, he went 0-4 with a 5.37 ERA in his last 10 starts and pretty much pitched himself off the postseason roster.
Relievers (7) -- Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Phil Hughes, Hector Noesi, Raul Valdes
The surprise here is Valdes, who has impressed Girardi during a September call-up. He is a 33-year-old lefty specialist who pitched in 38 games for the Mets a season ago and five for the St. Louis Cardinals before coming to the Yankees. Girardi has wanted a second lefty, and Valdes might have shown enough the past month to grab a spot. If it's not Valdes, look for the Yankees to reward right-hander Cory Wade with a roster spot.
Catchers (2) -- Russell Martin, Jesus Montero
With Francisco Cervelli (concussion) likely not available for the ALDS and maybe beyond, the Yankees need to do something with the backup catcher slot. For defensive purposes they would probably like to get Austin Romine on the roster, but I don't see how. To do so, they would have to drop either Eric Chavez or Chris Dickerson from the 25-man, and I don't see either of those things happening. Montero will be the designated hitter against lef-handed pitching, so he is making the roster, anyway. The Yankees will just cross their fingers that Martin does not get hurt, forcing them to put the 21-year-old behind the plate. Or, turn to 40-year-old Jorge Posada -- who caught once all season.
Infielders (6) -- Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez
In this scenario, the Yankees keep two backup infielders for a couple of reasons. First, the ongoing health concerns about Rodriguez. Second, Chavez provides them a lefty designated hitter alternative if they choose to move away from Posada.
Outfielders (5) -- Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Chris Dickerson
Dickerson provides the Yankees with a guy who can pinch-run late in games, and a player who is a quality defensive replacement for Swisher in right field. Speed and defense are valuable commodities in the playoffs, and Dickerson provides them.
DH (1) -- Jorge Posada
If I had it my way I would keep Romine on the roster, use Chavez as the lefty designated hitter and dump Posada. I don't think the Yankees will do that to Posada, though.