Constructing the ALCS Roster

October 12, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The cool thing about the postseason is that teams that advance to the next round can adjust their roster, for whatever reason—maybe someone gets hurt, maybe someone is better against one team than another.

With the ALDS over, the Yankees can now construct their ALCS roster.

This roster will largely remain the same—the differences come down to basically whether or not, against the Angels, you want an extra pinch runner or an extra arm out of the bullpen.

For the ALDS, the Yankees went for the extra bullpen arm and stuck with just Brett Gardner and Jerry Hairston as pinch runners.

Here is the way I’d construct the roster for the ALCS, bold selections are explained below:

1) Derek Jeter
2) Johnny Damon
3) Mark Teixeira
4) Alex Rodriguez
5) Hideki Matsui
6) Jorge Posada
7) Robinson Canó
8) Nick Swisher
9) Melky Cabrera

10) CC Sabathia
11) AJ Burnett
12) Andy Pettitte
13) Chad Gaudin

14) Brett Gardner
15) Jerry Hairston, Jr.
16) Freddy Guzman
17) Jose Molina
18) Francisco Cervelli
19) Eric Hinske

20) Joba Chamberlain
21) Phil Hughes
22) Mariano Rivera
23) David Robertson
24) Alfredo Aceves
25) Phil Coke

Chad Gaudin/Joba Chamberlain: I put Gaudin in fourth starter’s spot because, at the moment, I have more confidence in his ability than I do in Joba’s. There are a couple of points here: Joba has not started since his final start of the season, which I was, uh, fortunate enough to attend in person. He was, more or less, awful.

While Gaudin, overthe course of the season, was a roll of a dice once one he hit the sixth inning, the five innings he did get through were much cleaner than those Joba pitched.

It’s entirely possible, come Game Four, depending on what the scenario is, that Joe Girardi asks CC Sabathia to go on three days’ rest and thus the Gaudin/Joba debate becomes moot. Still, Girardi has shown a tendency to play-by-the-book and it’s hard for me to imagine him, in the ALCS, asking Sabathia to go on such short rest unless the Yankees were down 3-0 in the series.

There’s no question about keeping Joba on the roster, merely a question of where he would best be used. If you think Joba, and not Gaudin, should be the game four starter, please feel free to say so in the comments.

Freddy Guzman: My major move here is that I take Damaso Marte off the roster and put Freddy Guzman on it. It’s not just that Marte was completely ineffective in his one appearance, but that if Johnny Damon continues to struggle as he is, Girardi might give a thought to starting Gardner—the considerable loss of potential power may, in fact, be negated by the improvement in outfield defense—and having Guzman on the bench means that doing so would not leave Girardi without a pinch runner for Posada or Matsui.

I still remain of the opinion that if you’re going to have someone not named Jorge Posada catch—which I don’t agree with, but can live with—that your better option is Cervelli, who is a more than adequate defender and not an automatic out in the line up.

Since there’s utterly no chance of Girardi removing Molina for Cervelli, however, I will have to let the three catchers stand as is. If the Yankees are going to start Molina, they almost have to carry Cervelli—as, in game two, if Posada pinch-hits for Molina and then someone pinch runs, you still need another catcher.

It’s extraordinarily tempting to want to add another pitcher. Six doesn’t seem like enough, and while I still stay far, far away from Brian Bruney, there’s a part of me that doesn’t have any issues with putting Mark Melancon on said roster, even if he’s just along for the ride in the sense that Jeter and Rivera were in 1995.

If you keep Guzman on the roster, and you don’t remove either Molina or Cervelli, the tempting thing to do would be to remove Eric Hinske—Hairston is probably better defensively in the outfield, and certainly the faster runner—but the extremely superstitious person in me balks. Hinske’s got some seriously good World Series luck that you don’t want to touch.

It’s pretty amazing how intricate the arguments can be when choosing between just one or two players that, all told, are not expected to have an impact on the series the way that Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez might, but then, it’s not too hard to remember how Luis Sojo and Jose Vizcaino basically won the 2000 World Series for us, and then we know the importance of every spot on the roster.

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