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Yankees Mailbag: Matt Carpenter’s return and Oswald Peraza’s roster spot

The mailbag dives into some specific details of the Yankees’ playoff roster this week.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Bill A. asks: What are the odds, really, of Benintendi or Carpenter hitting well after such long layoffs? And DJ, for that matter?

It seems highly unlikely that Benintendi will even be available for this series, and if he is I have little hope of him jumping back into form immediately — the wrist injury he sustained will make it very difficult for him to get his “A” swing on the ball so soon. DJ is already back, and all signs point to Carpenter being available as a bench bat for the ALDS, which could be a big boost if they’re getting back the bat that was Aaron Judge-lite for 47 games.

Of the three, I’m the highest on Carpenter’s bat being back the quickest. He’s had a decent amount of time to recover, and even though his foot injury could also complicate how he sets up his power he’s only going to be used for pinch-hit situations. There’s a good chance that the small sample size he’ll see goes in his favor, and if he can run into even one more long ball, then it’ll be a worthwhile decision for the team. LeMahieu is tricky to predict, as his injury was initially determined to be the type that they couldn’t fix in time with an IL stint, but the team gave him one anyway. It doesn’t look like there’s much life in his bat at the moment, and if it’s going to take a lengthy rest to get him right then he’s mainly going to be providing his versatile defense for this postseason run.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Oswald Peraza is a lock for the post season roster at this point, right?

Peraza’s had a great stint here at the end of the season, getting his first look at the major league level. The numbers game may be against him here, however: the Yankees will definitely run their 10 starting-caliber players with Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Harrison Bader, Josh Donaldson, LeMahieu, Jose Trevino, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Oswaldo Cabrera. Kyle Higashioka is a lock to be the backup catcher, and as mentioned, Carpenter appears to have a spot. That leaves only one roster spot left if the Yankees are taking 13 position players as expected, and there’s no backup outfielder listed yet if Carpenter is solely a bat.

Aaron Hicks has had a wildly turbulent season, and at times it appeared like his pinstriped career might be done, but he might win a roster spot just out of necessity. If not him, then Tim Locastro could provide the defensive expertise and a spark on the basepaths, and the versatile Marwin Gonzalez has held a spot all year as well. It’s certainly fair to wonder if the Yankees would be better off rolling the dice with Peraza over say IKF, but the likeliest result is that the team sticks with the regulars that got them here. Although they could take a page from the Mets’ book and use 14 position players to potentially make room for Peraza in addition to an outfielder, they could still decide to simply take two from the trio of Hicks, Locastro, and Gonzalez. It would be tough luck for Peraza, but he’s made enough noise to indicate that the stopgap role won’t be necessary beyond this year.

TripleFFF asks: Now that the playoff bracket is set, what are the PSA predictions for the wild card round and beyond?

We just finished rounding up our staff predictions, and Andrew has the full rundown! Since we talked about the Wild Card Series in a recent Twitter Spaces though, I’ll go through my picks for that round specifically. I have the Rays besting the Guardians, the Blue Jays outlasting the Mariners, the Cardinals over the Phillies, and the Mets advancing past the Padres. The Tampa Bay-Cleveland and Philadelphia-St. Louis series in particular are very interesting and should be close. This would mean the Yankees would be facing the Rays in the ALDS, and I think they would be well-situated to get some revenge for 2020 this time around.