The Yankees announced their official ALDS roster today and they will be carrying three catchers and eleven pitchers, rather than going with a more position-oriented bench.
Francisco Cervelli joins Jorge Posada and Jose Molina as catchers on the roster, and Damaso Marte was added because of the Minnesota Twins’ victory last night in their one game playoff with the Tigers. Jason Kubel and Joe Mauer are good left handed hitters and Marte and Phil Coke will be called on to neutralize those threats. While Mauer mashes against everyone (1.103 OPS vs. RHP, .910 vs. LHP), Kubel has a rather large platoon split–1.106 vs. RHP, .643 vs LHP.
The decision to include the third catcher stems from the decision to have Jose Molina catch A.J. Burnett. This allows Girardi to pinch hit for Molina with Posada and possibly pinch run for Jorge if needed. If that happened, Francisco Cervelli would obviously come into the game to catch.
Left off the roster were Ramiro Pena and Freddy Guzman. With the inclusion of Jerry Hairston, Jr., Ramiro Pena becomes rather superfluous and the Yankees obviously felt that they wouldn’t need two late-inning outfield defensive replacements/pinch runners–Brett Gardner should suffice.
While I’m not entirely thrilled at having three catchers on the roster–it would’ve been nice to have Pena–I’m relatively glad that Guzman was left off. In the back of my mind, I had a sinking feeling that Joe Girardi would be tempted to do something potentially silly with Guzman. Now, the temptation isn’t there.
Regardless of how the roster looks, there is no reason for Yankee fans not to be incredibly confident in this team. While nothing is guaranteed in the playoffs, the Yankees look poised for a deep run. Hopefully, they can come through on that promise and deliver championship number twenty-seven.