2007 Yankees Postseason Roster – A Look Ahead

Back in June this season seemed like a bad dream.  It’s now September, the final week of the season and the Yankees "Magic Number" is one.  Where we fit in to these playoffs is still up in the air, only time will tell.  For now all that matters is that we are just about in and we have a roster to think about.  Much like the Red Sox, the Yankees roster questions come in the bullpen.  Who comes?  Who stays?  You decide.         

Here is my take on the 2007 post season roster:

Catchers: Jorge Posada and Jose Molina

First Base: Jason Giambi and Doug Mientkiewicz

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Outfielders: Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera, Bobby Abreu and Shelley Duncan

Utility: Wilson Betemit

The only thing that worries me here is not having a 3rd catcher on this roster, 40 man roster or the active roster.  Which means if one of the catchers goes down, we can’t replace him and Shelley Duncan and Doug Mientkiewicz would be the emergency catchers.   

Starting Pitchers:

Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy

Relief Pitchers:

Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Luis Vizcaino, Kyle Farnsworth

That leaves room for 2 players from this list:

Ross Ohlendorf, Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney, Ron Villone, Jose Veras and Chris Britton.  I would love to see them take Ohlendorf and Veras, but something tells me Joe will go with Ramirez and Villone.  Another option could be carrying Bronson Sardinha or Alberto Gonzalez to give them more flexibility with pinch running and defensive switches and only take one pitcher from that list.

What do you think?  Let’s hear it.

30 comments… add one
  • Starters:
    Pettitte, Wang, Moose (yes, Moose until he falters) Clemens
    relief: (long) Hughes, Kennedy
    (middle) Edwar, Ohlendorf, Veras, Farnsdouche(gulp!)Villone(i guess we need a lefty?)
    end game: Luis, Joba and Mo
    Of course the whole thing depends on the offense…no bats=no wins in postseason!

    krueg September 25, 2007, 11:50 am
  • Ill flip out if Veras is on the post season roster. His recent performances give me zero faith in his ability to throw strikes when required.

    Sam-YF September 25, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • yeah, as much as it pains me, I’d be shocked if Villone didn’t make the post-season roster. goddamn lefties.

    Gibb September 25, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • Hmm, Good question.
    Cabrera, CF
    Jeter, SS
    Abreu, RF
    A-Rod, 3B
    Giambi, DH
    Matsui, LF
    Posada, C
    Cano, 2B
    Mient, 1B
    Or Giambi at 1B and Damon as the #9 at DH. I dropped Matsui down but if he keeps hitting well he might back up A-Rod, but either way the lineup is pretty set. there is the issue at 1b depending on whether offense is needed or defense, and the same thing in the outfield. People seem to know their role fairly well.
    The pitching is a different story. The first playoff series may be the most tense. Petitte, Clemens, Wang and Mussina seem to be the obvious choice for a road series, with Wang pitching the first home game. But this could flip easily if Clemens can’t sustain and Moose loses the fountain of youth. With Hughes and Kennedy at the ready in the bullpen to spot-start or take over in an early inning situation, there is definitely options galore. Torre just needs to be watchful of signs that his top 4 can’t handle the load and remember that his kiddies are pontentially great.
    The rest of the bullpen is less clear: Mariano in the ninth yes, but then what? Viz and Joba for the 7th and 8th. Specialist? Farnsworth’s heater against the righties. Ramirez’s changeup in tough spots can be very effective. But none of those are lefties and so Villone is going to have to pitch to all those lefties in close games. Unless you want Sean Henn and Villone, overworked as he migt be, has had more success.
    I’d expect that as long as Chamberlain remains nigh-unhittable, we are going to see alot of him. Viz will begin, but if he encounters issues, Joba comes in quickly.
    I don’t do predictions usually; too much trouble. But i’ll remind folks of K-Rod in 2002 and Beckett in 2003. There is recent history (and alot of non-recent history) that show the playoffs as the transitional space for a young good pitcher to become a young great pitcher. If Hughes and/or Kennedy are called upon and succeed, imagine the confidence they will bring to next season. Same with Chamberlain, who will most likely be involved in more pressure-packed situations. It is a manager’s job to place players in situations where they can succeed. By definition there is risk, but this playoffs may be about more than just this year. Our youngins will hopefully grow tons this October and that will speak well for the future.

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • wasnt Kennedy shut down?

    Ric September 25, 2007, 12:54 pm
  • “Ian Kennedy, sidelined with an upper back strain, is not expected to pitch for the rest of the week to ensure that he is available for a potential playoff roster assignment.”

    John - YF (Trisk) September 25, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • Trisk, Pettitte is spelled with 4 t’s. Come on!
    I would love to see Ohlendorf. You have to assume Ron Villone is on the roster. He’s like a Joe Torre security blanket.

    AndrewYF September 25, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • If Hughes and Kennedy make it onto the post-season roster, I’d expect them to be relievers, not starters. Torre is absolutely committed to the vets, so the starting rotation will be Wang-Pettite-Clemens-Moose.
    Of course, if Clemens or Moose fall apart, Kennedy or Hughes could slide in to replace them, but otherwise I don’t think either rookie will be starting any games this October.
    As for those spare spots, I think Ramirez has a good shot at one. I think both will be relievers, though, or at least I hope so. There are three big pitching question marks that I see (Clemens, Moose, Farnsworth), so the Yankees need enough flexibility in the bullpen to survive either of those three falling apart. I think Moose will be fine, but there’s really no way of knowing how Clemens’ body will hold up. And Farnsworth defies prediction.
    You know, looking at that roster, and hoping everybody stays healthy and productive, NY must look pretty scary.
    Wang-Pettite-Clemens-Mussina is a very formidable rotation. None of them are blockbusters, but they all have the ability to be terrific.
    And Mo-Viz-Joba-Kennedy-Hughes all in the pen? If Kennedy and Hughes can perform out of the pen like they do as starters, they should go a long way towards filling NY’s long-relief holes. And those other guys make the last 3 innings much more comfortable.
    And, of course, the line-up is as scary as ever, again assuming everybody is up to par. There’s a whole lot of potential in here.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 25, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • Thank you, John. I was worried for a moment.
    Am I the only one to notice the strange coincidence between our yougins and the veterans. I wasn’t listening to the YES commentary for one of Kennedy’s first starts so I was shocked to see him pitched. He looked just like Mussina! Even with the full bent-over windup. And when you look at his pitches and his approach, he does look like Mussina reincarnated. (Which is only strange now that Mussina has come back from the dead. Can there be only one?)
    Then later on, during a Clemens start, the announcers reported on the growing relationship between Joba and Rocket. Obviously, they both have the fastball and the intimidating presence, but they don’t have that much in common…except the way Joba’s slider down in the dirt acts a bit like Rocket’s late-career split. I don’t recall enough of Rocket’s early career to remember what his #2 pitch was back then.
    In both these cases, I don’t necessarily think that Kennedy and Joba will have Moose/Rocket careers. I just think its strange how closely they fit the profile of those pitchers. The veterans must feel strange, seeing these young pitchers come as if out of the Rocket/Moose assembly line. Same make and model, just a different year.
    Of course that leaves the Pettite/Hughes comparison, which I am not sure about. Pettite has great stuff but his ability to handle pressure seemed, to me, to be his defining attribute. Secondary is his ability to pitch intelligently. He definitely knows how to pitch, working batters into getting themselves out by swinging at stuff out of the strike zone.
    If I was forced to make a comparison (and this post would mean nothing if I didn’t at least try)I’d say that Hughes might be showing a bit of that. He’s obviously not completely 100% after the injury and pitching using the stuff he has instead of just rearing back and throwing. How many games have we seen where Pettite’s stuff is a bit flatter than usual, but he grinds his way through. That pretty much describes Hughes’ last few starts.
    As an aside, remember the strength and conditioning coach that got fired at the beginning of the season? Was there every any followup to that? Hughes got hurt, the next day the coach got fired, and the Yankees went on and got healthy. It seemed strange that it was even mentioned. Was the S&C coach blamed for the injury, for the yankees being a bit injury prone in the rotation, have there been changes afterwards?

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 1:31 pm
  • “If Hughes and Kennedy make it onto the post-season roster, I’d expect them to be relievers, not starters.”
    100% agree KM, I was just listing them as they are “Starters” not necessarily where they will be come playoff time.
    AndrewYF, you are 100% right. I am shocked that got past me. I have learned to sing Pettitte’s spelling in my head when I type it, my apologies for letting that one get by me!

    John - YF (Trisk) September 25, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • Wang-Pettite-Clemens-Mussina is a very formidable rotation. None of them are blockbusters, but they all have the ability to be terrific.
    None of those are blockbusters? Wang is a Cy Young cnadidate. Pettitte is one of the better postseason starters of the last decade, Clemens is…well Clemens, and Mussina is a borderline HOF candidate.
    I mean, it isn’t Koufax-Gibson-Feller-Ryan, but I have to say the pedigree on that rotation is impressive. Yes, they are mostly old. Yes, Clemens hasn’t pitched a great postseason game in a while. Yes, Wang hasn’t been here before. There are questions, but they are relatively minor.
    I’ll take the Yank’s four over any other four out there. Would I love a C.C. pitching 4 games a series, or a Santana, or even a Beckett? Yes, those are great, but our four is not a rotation that needs to be qualified; its a great set of pitchers who if they pitch like they are capable, can shut down a team for a week.
    Damn, I didn’t want to get all fanboy-love-in, but I just can’t imagine not viewing that many wins/Ks/innings/starpower not viewed as “blockbuster.”

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • Chien-Ming Wang is a made-up Cy Young candidate.
    All right YFs. Begin throwing [censored] at me……..now.

    QuoSF September 25, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • Wang will still get a number of Cy Young votes. Maybe not first place, but still he’ll get some. Wang is definitely a really good pitcher, and Pettitte not far behind. We’re just mesmerized by the Sabathia/Carmona tandem. Now that is a one-two punch.

    AndrewYF September 25, 2007, 1:50 pm
  • And Carlos, who was pitching Wang’s games in 2005 and 2006? His evil twin brother, CHING Ming Wang?

    AndrewYF September 25, 2007, 1:51 pm
  • Wang will get some votes because he’s tied for 2nd in wins, but he’s obviously not going to get that many votes considering C.C. is killing every stat category. But, he was a candidate.
    Andrew—Huh? I’m slow.

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • Can’t call a guy who probably isn’t going to start game one of the playoffs a serious Cy Candidate.
    I would think that nearly every Yankee fan around wants Pettittitte to start game one, no?

    Brad September 25, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • I know I would. Don’t fool with probability.

    Brad September 25, 2007, 1:59 pm
  • Carlos:
    Wang made playoff starts in both ’05 and ’06, is what Andrew is referring to. You said “Yes, Wang hasn’t been here before”, but that isn’t true.

    SF September 25, 2007, 2:02 pm
  • I’d like to start Pettitte in Game 1 if it’s on the road. If it’s at home, I’d start Wang.
    Wang’s 16 home starts have led to a 10-4 record and a 2.75 ERA. Pettitte’s 16 home starts have led to an 8-4 record and a 4.17 ERA.
    I don’t see this as a product of distrust or lacking confidence; this is just playing the percentages. Hell, I remember a few years ago a pitcher getting a start because it was a day game, and he pitched better in day games. 1-4 is not always a Ranking, its giving your team the best chance to win in that particular game.
    You do lead to an interesting question: Should your “best” pitcher always pitch Game 1? Well, shouldn’t that depend on the quality of your rotation? I guess technically whoever pitches Game One is able to pitch more games in the series if it goes long, but doesn’t that idea penalizes pitchers that are on great staff? Where there are more great options there are more variables, no?
    I think history is on the side of Brad here though, because Game One has historically been staff ace versus staff ace. It has always been presented as a standard of respect, and maybe that riles my mini-sabermetric mind. I just think there are other flaws to Wang’s Cy Young candidacy (ERA, Ks, Opposing batting average, road record) than the fact that he won’t unequivocally start Game One.

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 2:18 pm
  • Andrew, thanks for the reminder. Not that I thought Wang was rookie, but I didn’t think his two previous playoff starts as experienced. A start is a start, the playoffs are always pressure cooked, even when you are just pitching one game. But when you look at the four probables and comparing them, Wang’s lack of experience beyond those two games called out at me.

    Carlos (YF) September 25, 2007, 2:22 pm
  • Brad nice try, but if the Yankees start at home, there’s no one better than Wang. However, if the Yankees start on the road, there’s no one better than Pettitte.
    Beckett, you want starting game one no matter what. But a lot of that is due to the rest of the starting staff being pretty sub-par. But, if there were a reliable starter on the staff who had excellent numbers at Fenway, you’d want him starting over Beckett if Game 1 is at Fenway, statistically speaking. Beckett’s ERA at Fenway is 3.98, as opposed to his ~2.00 ERA on the road. Cy Young award isn’t based on the relative suckitude of the rest of the team’s starting staff.
    Should CC Sabathia not get the Cy Young because Fausto Carmona could easily start game 1? Just because every starter sans Beckett has or is crumbling doesn’t, and shouldn’t, boost Beckett’s candidacy for the award.

    AndrewYF September 25, 2007, 2:48 pm
  • And I should say, looking at Wang’s ridiculous home/road splits, that it’s almost certainly the result of Yankee stadium being somehow conducive to Chien Ming Wang himself. It’s not really about turf (even though he had the worst start of his career in Toronto…which is not natural grass), he had horrible numbers in Fenway and Camden this year, and those are natural grass. And it might not be just Yankee stadium – Wang had excellent numbers in Comerica and US Cellular.
    The fact is, the driver of the horrendous road numbers is clearly babip, which is an almost-unsustainable .336 on the road. The slugging percentage against is well below .400, making everyone who faces Wang channel Miguel Cairo’s power. So, I don’t know. He has absolutely horrendous numbers on the road this year, and it just must have to do with ballparks.

    AndrewYF September 25, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • realative sucktitude?
    Have you glanced over the Team pitching stats category?

    Brad September 25, 2007, 3:41 pm
  • Also, if you want Wang starting over Pettitte, home or away, versus the Angels, should that be the opponent, then I’d say we’re hoping for the same thing.
    Also, as a Sox fan I’d rather face him since he isn’t holding anyone good on, and speed seems to be a part of this team now. Come to think of it, the Indians have some base to base speed as well.
    Pettitte is a better pitcher. They should pitch him. I know I would.

    Brad September 25, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Nevermind there, Andrew. I thought you were calling the rest of the Red Sox staff “relative sucktitude”, but re-reading I’m thinking that you weren’t saying that at all.

    Brad September 25, 2007, 3:48 pm
  • Carlos-
    Hey, I like those four over just about any rotation in the league. But Wang isn’t going to be a serious contender for the CY Young, Pettitte and Moose are hometown favorites but aren’t exactly the most famous pitchers in the league, and Clemens is old.
    To be honest, I don’t think it’s all that bad that none of them are “blockbusters.” The talent is pretty evenly distributed there, especially when you factor in all the postseason experience these guys have.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 25, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • clemens has been scratched tonight. igawa gets the start. adjust playoff expectations accordingly.

    Yankee Fan In Boston September 25, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • Please keep Edwar Ramirez and Brian Bruney off the postseason roster. If you are 100% set on having a lefty, then I don’t mind Villone, but please Joe, please leave Bruney and Mr. Bugs Bunny Changeup off the list. Veras or Ohlendorf are fine in that final spot.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 26, 2007, 8:56 am
  • Why have Farnsworth on the post season staff? He is useless. I’d take Ross Ohlendorf and Edwar Ramirez. Villone doesn’t bother lefties. Ramirez can strike people out with that change (OK, he is scary to watch). Ohlendorf has nasty stuff.
    I would pitch Hughes in front of Mussina. Moose is done; can’t get good hitters out.

    pres pieraccini October 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • all i have 2 say is…MANNY RAMIREZ aka.papa dios as da latin ppl wuld say.

    mster fresh March 17, 2008, 11:18 pm

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