The Yankees are just a couple of wins away from clinching a spot in the playoffs, and even clinching the division win. Take that pre-season haters!
The hot topic in Yankees universe right now is the playoff roster. Should the Yankees carry a backup catcher? Should Greg Golson/Chris Dickerson make the team? I will answer those questions, and provide you with my personal preferred playoff roster, here.
25 players (14 hitters, 11 pitchers)
Catcher- Russell Martin
Infield- Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, Ramiro Pena
Outfield- Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Greg Golson, Andruw Jones
DH- Jesus Montero, Jorge Posada (because there is no chance he doesn't make the roster)
Starting Pitchers- CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia
Relief Pitchers- Hector Noesi/A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade
Explanations after the jump.I differ from many in that I choose Ramiro Pena over Eduardo Nunez for the last utility spot on the roster. Nunez has been fantastic this season, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. Pena hasn't been perfect either, but in the playoffs, where teams especially capitalize on mistakes, it's best to go with the less risky choice. Pena can play the same positions, and can also run almost as fast.
I originally left Greg Golson off my playoff roster, but in the end, speed is a very useful tool. For example, if Jorge Posada doubles to lead off the bottom of the 9th of a tie game, instead of having to use Pena/Chavez, the Yankees can use Golson. If he doesn't score, Montero/Jones can replace him in the lineup.
Phil Hughes narrowly escaped being grouped in with the Noesi/Burnett pair, due to his previous relief success. Burnett and Noesi is an extremely difficult decision. Do you choose the struggling veteran, or the impressive rookie?
Luis Ayala has had a fine season, but I trust the other pitchers over him. The screaming line drives he is giving up aren't a good sign for Ayala's future.
Rather than explaining why I prefer no backup catcher, here is a great explanation.
What do you think?