With September rapidly approaching and the Yankees having a large lead in the wild card chase, a major theme over the next few weeks will be the construction of the postseason roster. While many of the spots are taken by players who are obvious choices to make the team, there are a few roster slots that the Yankees could utilize in a variety of ways and are still up for grabs. Furthermore, while it is unlikely, extreme performances by either those in the lead for the final spots or by September call-ups could alter the race for the last 4 or 5 spots considerably over the next few weeks.
These 20 players are almost certain to make the team, provided they do not get injured, or for some of them (Colon and Wade, for example), do not entirely tank over the last month of the season. While some might quibble over the makeup of the rotation, I really do not see much room for argument here. The Yankees have had 4 effective starters this season, and I expect all of them to make the roster. Even if they only use 3 in the ALDS, the 4th will likely be taken as a long man.
(predicted choices in italics)
The first issue is whether the Yankees will carry 11 or 12 pitchers. In the ALDS, considering that they may actually be carrying a starter who will be acting as a long man, I think they will take 11 pitchers, which leaves us with 2 more pitching slots to deal with. Hector Noesi has earned a slot and should make the team. Outside of two terrible relief outings that have marred his statistics a bit, he has been fantastic. He has the stuff to succeed in short relief and the versatility and arm strength to sop up innings, which makes him a strong choice for the postseason roster. As for the second spot, I think Luis Ayala likely has a hold on it at this point, but I expect that Phil Hughes will be given every opportunity to steal that spot and make the team. Unless AJ Burnett is stellar out of the bullpen in September, he is likely the odd man out.
As for the bench, I expect Jorge Posada to end up as the DH against RHP, although the roster would likely be more flexible if he was left off it entirely and Eric Chavez won that spot. However, assuming he does win the DH job, that leaves Chavez, Montero, and Dickerson for the final two slots. Ideally, Montero would play well enough to force the Yankees to carry him as another bench option against lefties, and the Yankees would take Dickerson as an extra pinch runner and potential defensive replacement. I see that as being fairly unlikely, and expect Chavez and Dickerson to round out the 25-man roster.
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