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Thinking About Hoffman and Roster Construction

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djoep2000 (no relation) has an interesting fan post up about Jamie Hoffman.  While I wouldn't take Baseball Cubes, scouting scores as gospel because they compare the player to the leagues he's played the most in (inflating his hitting ability), djoe raises good points about the Yanks desire for Hoffman to make the team.

Consider first what happens if he's cut. The Yanks have to offer him back to the Dodgers they're sure to take him. It's a waste of both the cash and the first pick in the Rule V received for Brian Bruney. That may be the plan given how the FA market shook out. Maybe when he made the pick, Cash didn't think he could get a player of Randy Winn's caliber for $1.1M. It happened last year with Swisher and Nady when Tex signed. But for now, let's assume Cash made the pick hoping Hoffman will compete for the last spot on the roster.

If we assume 13 position players, that leaves 4 bench spots. Cervelli is one, an infielder (Pena, Ransom, Corona) is two, Winn is three. I don't see any way Gardner doesn't make the team, after the club has talked to Grand Central about shifting positions, though if that happened and the Yanks went with Granderson in CF and a 2 or 3 man platoon in left, that would change the dynamic.

That puts Hoffman in a battle with Thames. Hoffman has an uphill fight against Thames, and it may come down to what Girardi wants on his bench. Thames can hit, but Hoffman can field and run. If Gardner wins the LF job outright, it could make it easier on Hoffman because Winn's bat would always be on the bench and Joe G would want Hoffman's speed to pinch run for Posada/Johnson.

For me, I would pick Hoffman because Thames might accept a minor league deal, is 33 years old, and has only posted an OBP over .300 twice in the last 5 seasons.  Thames might mash, but only when he makes contact.  As djoe pointed out, Hoffman makes good contact, rarely striking out, walking a little and showing enough pop to survive at the big league level.  He only steals at a 68% rate, so don't confuse him with Gardner or Granderson on the bases, but he can run. More importantly, he plays solid d at all 3 outfield spots.

We're finally done waiting.  Now we get to see.