Should the Yankees tweak their roster for the ALCS?


Up until a few years ago, teams weren’t allowed to change their rosters between playoff rounds. I don’t remember when exactly they started letting teams do this, but it was 2005 or 2006, somewhere around there. Anyway, now teams can optimize their roster to best match up with their next opponent, which in theory makes for more entertaining playoff games. Does it work? Eh, I dunno.

For the most part, the Yankees roster will remain unchanged. In fact, the only spots that we really need to discuss are the second lefty reliever and maybe the third catcher. As you probably already know, I’m not a fan of letting Jose Molina catch AJ Burnett, but it seems as though the Yankees are, and that’s all that counts. Because of that, it makes sense to carry a third catcher so they can pinch run for Jorge Posada in the late innings of a close game after he already pinch hit for Molina, basically what happened in Game Two of the ALDS.

That leaves just the second LOOGY spot up for grabs, or perhaps it would be more accurate to refer to it as the 11th spot in the bullpen. Unlike the Twins, who had two .900+ OPS lefty hitters in the middle of their lineup, the Angels only have one lefty swinger of note in their starting nine: ex-Yank Bobby Abreu. However, they could pencil as many as five switch hitters into their lineup on any given day, which could/will present some matchup issues. Let’s take a look at the platoon splits of those five switch hitters…

vs. RHP vs. LHP
Erick Aybar .305-.351-.411 .325-.356-.448
Chone Figgins .323-.407-.437 .246-.325-.305
Maicer Izturis .290-.344-.428 .380-.475-.500
Gary Matthews Jr. .261-.341-.352 .221-.323-.384
Kendry Morales .309-.366-.596 .273-.326-.488

Of those five, Figgins has the hardest time with southpaws, and it’s not even close. He basically turns into Yuniesky Betancourt whenever there’s a lefty on the mound, which bodes well for when CC Sabathia or Andy Pettitte start the game. Kendry Morales, who completely annihilated the Yankees this year, drops about 150 OPS points against lefties, but is still a force at the dish. Do you want your second lefty facing him in a big spot, or one of your top righties? Obviously the latter, and you’re not going to carry a second lefty just for lil old Chone.

Based on that, the Yanks would be better off swapping out the 11th man on their staff, currently a second lefty, in favor of another righty. In this case, the second lefty would be Damaso Marte, because no matter how much we want him to be the primary lefty, the Yankees just aren’t going to have it, at least not this year. Who takes his spot? Well the obvious candidate is Brian Bruney, yet another power arm to deploy against the team that struggles against quality fastballs. As long as Joe Girardi understands that Bruney is at the bottom of the short relief pecking order, it’s cool with me. Seriously, there’s no reason for him to enter a game before David Robertson, Al Aceves, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes unless the Yanks are winning big or losing big.

So, 500+ words later, I think the Yankees should drop Marte off their ALCS roster and replace him with the equally unpredictable Bruney, who is a slightly better matchup because of the arm he throws with and how hard he throws. The ALCS roster isn’t the most efficient because they’re carrying a third catcher, something you don’t often see teams do in the postseason. However, if the Yanks take care of business, it shouldn’t even come into play.

Categories : Playoffs


  1. I wouldn’t mind Bruney over Marte.

  2. Doug says:

    Personally, I’d rather have Marte than Bruney. I just don’t see a role for Bruney. Like you said Mike, he’d be the last guy out of the pen (save Gaudin) and would probably only see game action in blowouts or extra innings.

    At least Marte, in theory, would have a role. Get Abreu, Figgins, or Morales out in a “big” spot in the 6th or 7th inning.

  3. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    BOLD MOVE Drop CC for Freddy Guzman. They have to counterbalance the Angels’ unbelievable speed!!!

  4. MattG says:

    You nailed it. I noticed TSJC posting reasons to keep Marte in another thread, and his logic totally defied me. Marte is not needed in this series. There are not enough matchups to need two lefties in one game. Both he and Coke shut down lefties beautifully, but Coke is the harder thrower, and he’s more on his game.

    Bruney’s power fastball should supposedly give the Angels trouble…if the scouting reports are to be believed.

    Here’s hoping the Angels continue to run Figgins and Abreu out back-to-back, so that Coke can mow them both down every day.

    Can we talk about Pettitte and how he profiles vs the Angels next? I would say games 3 and 6 look bleak.

  5. Rose says:

    Why would they tweak their roster for a series that’s already happened? lol

  6. Jake H says:

    I agree. Marte looked terrible. Bruney can be so dominating at time and while the Angels have been patient you have to wonder when the pressure gets on them if they will keep that approach or follow back into bad habits.

  7. Rose says:

    Aside from Aybar and Izturis…our 2 starting LHP seems to look pretty good. And Aybar and Izturis have pretty good numbers against RHP as well so it doesn’t really matter…

  8. Mike Pop says:

    At first I wasn’t for swapping Bruney over Marte. Over the past couple days though, I’ve become convinced.

    I doubt either would play a huge role in the series, just because you go to your best guys all the time in the playoffs so Hughes, Mo, Joba, Robertson, and Coke would be the main relievers.

    Since Bruney has that quality fastball, he seems like the better option.

  9. Rose says:

    As I said yesterday, Papelbon is head and shoulders above Bruney…and the Angels didn’t have any problem clocking his regular fastballs around…even with 2 outs and the game on the line.

    That being said, Bruney certainly doesn’t have better movement…and certainly doesn’t have the numbers to say he’d be any different.

    While I don’t like Marte one bit…he at least offers something seen less often…if anything at all.

  10. A.D. says:

    hey could pencil as many as five switch hitters into their lineup on any given day

    Isn’t it more likely only 4 since Kendrick, Izturis, and Aybar are 3 guys for 2 middle infield spots?

  11. Will says:

    I would drop Marte even if it meant leaving the 25th slot vacant.

  12. Moshe Mandel says:

    “no matter how much we want him to be the primary lefty, the Yankees just aren’t going to have it, at least not this year.”

    You would carry Marte over Coke?

  13. Rob in CT says:

    I’d rather Guzman than Bruney. Bruney should never see action.

    • Bo says:

      If Bruney is in the game we r either losing or winning by more than 6.

      Hes pretty worthless. At least Guzman provides defense and elite speed.

  14. ansky says:

    I dont see how the Marte arguement continues. There is no reason to bring him on. He had one job in the Twins series and failed miserably. He scares the crap out of me. And he is prone to create messes when he gets out there.

  15. [...] may be their lone left handed threat, but they do have quite a few switch hitters and two of them, Chone Figgins and Kendry Morales, do much worse against lefties. That’s a third of their lineup and three of their more [...]

  16. Bo says:

    Marte should be off but Girardi loves having the 2 lefty’s. It gives him more opportunity to over manage and play and match ups.

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