As Ben at RAB summarized so well, the Yankees are not using their full roster right now. Angel Berroa was virtually unused in the month of May. Jose Veras has allowed runs in the few appearances that Joe Girardi has bothered to give him. Brett Tomko hasn’t been much bet nor frequently used.
The result? The Yankees are essentially playing short handed. We’ve talked at length here about calling up Shelley Duncan or Todd Linden, Mark Melancon, or others. I think that the more interesting question is why the Yankees seem to be going with inferior options.
The Yankees haven’t even made an attempt to keep Berroa fresh. He has just 12 at bats on the year. For some reason, the Yankees don’t want to DFA him and send him to the minor leagues. Why? I can think of three reasons:
- They are holding Cody Ransom’s spot on the 40-man roster.
- They are afraid of Alex Rodriguez’s hip breaking on them.
- They are waiting for a trade.
None are particularly good reasons to hold on to Berroa instead of replacing him with someone useful. The Yankees saw during Ransom’s failures that Ramiro Pena could do anything better than Berroa, and that Brett Gardner was a better pinch hitter. Alex Rodriguez seems to be healthy, so being overly cautious by keeping a back-up for the backp-up is foolish. Cody Ransom’s 60-day DL stint will last at least another two weeks. I have trouble believing that the Yankees held on to Berroa for almost two extra months because they were waiting for Cody Ransom.
But what about a trade? Could the Yankees plan on adding a bench player to the 40-man roster without subtracting one? Mark DeRosa was one rumor, but there are a dozen or more players that the Yankees could attain that could add something to the team.
With Nady returning, the hitting roster could look like this:
Looking at this roster, it doesn’t make much sense to add Shelley Duncan or Todd Linden. Once Nady returns, the OF/1st base crowd will be crowded without any additions. The veteran who sits will serve as the primary pinch hitter, and Shelley and Linden would see very little time. On the other hand, the 4-man bench looks fairly well balanced with Xavier Nady returning. Mark DeRosa seems superflous except as a poor defensive option at center.
I’m guessing that, barring a trade of an OFer, Berroa comes off the 40-man roster for a relief pitcher. My bet is on George Kontos.
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