As usual, most of the Yankees postseason roster is easy to predict. Unusually, there is at least one significant spot in the lineup that’s still up for grabs.
Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez.
Making his case: Jesus Montero
Wednesday was his second three-strikeout game of the week, but Montero has also shown the power and advanced approach that made him the team’s top hitting prospect. Right now, he seems to be the team’s primary designated hitter, or at least their regular DH against left-handers. Especially with Francisco Cervelli hurt, Montero seems to be playing his way onto the roster.
Veteran in an unusual spot: Jorge Posada
It’s hard to imagine the Yankees would actually keep Posada off their postseason roster. If nothing else he’s a veteran switch hitter who can DH or come of the bench to catch and play first base. Of course, he’s also started just one game and played in only two others since the end of August. Does Posada’s diminishing role open the possibility of sacrificing his spot in favor of carrying two rookie catchers, or did Saturday’s emergency work behind the plate convince the Yankees that Posada can be the de facto backup catcher?
New guy with a chance: Austin Romine
Cervelli’s concussion and the fact the Yankees like Romine’s defense behind the plate means Romine has a chance to make the postseason roster despite spending almost the entire year in Double-A, with no big league call-up until injuries left the Yankees desperate and short-handed. Romine making the team might depend on how fully the Yankees trust Montero and Posada behind the plate, and whether they think they need more than an emergency backup behind Martin.
Role players to consider: Chris Dickerson, Greg Golson, Ramiro Pena
A left-handed outfielder, a right-handed outfielder and a utility infielder. All three are familiar around the Yankees clubhouse, and all three could provide speed and defense off the bench. Pena is probably redundant with Nunez having a spot locked up, and the choice might come down to Dickerson and Golson, a choice between a right-handed hitter and a left-handed hitter, each of whom brings a similar skill set to the bench. Carrying one of these three likely means losing either Montero, Posada or Romine.
In a five-game series, the Yankees take their chances with Martin as their top guy behind the plate, choosing to carry Montero and Posada as backup options, but leaving Romine or Cervelli off the roster. Dickerson takes the last spot on the bench, serving as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.
Associated Press photos