The Yankees’ Postseason Roster Dilemma


Aaron Boone is the manager of a successful Yankee team, but is his embarrassment of riches a problem? (Courtesy of Flickr)

It really isn’t surprising that the Yankees are going to coast into the 2019 postseason with the roster they have. If anything, the surprise is in how they got here with a franchise record for the most injuries in a single season. However, it hasn’t looked like manager Aaron Boone has had any problems getting the win at the end of the day. But the playoffs are a completely different ballgame when it comes to roster spots, starting lineups and pitching changes.

Because of the myriad injuries that have plagued the Yankees over the season–Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances, just to name a few–the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman have been forced to turn to a deep farm system and low-level free agent acquisitions to fill the void. Cashman has done a great job of doing just that.

Some players that have filled in very nicely are guys like Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin, midseason acquisition Edwin Encarnacion and Domingo German. German has been the Yankees’ ace the entire season.

Even players from the minors like Mike Ford, Thairo Estrada and Clint Frazier have played big roles in the 2019 season. No one would have predicted the years Urshela, Lemahieu, Tauchman and Ford have had for the Yankees. Best of all, most of these players were acquired for basically nothing.

But when it comes to the playoffs, you can only have a 25-man roster. If you’re Aaron Boone, you have to ask yourself who you want to put on that roster, and because everyone has contributed so much when they were asked to step up, someone with a lot of talent probably won’t make it.

Will Stanton and Severino come back healthy and ready to plug them into the lineup or start a game? Who will play the outfield when you have eight on the roster right now and you have to leave someone out because you probably are going to carry 12 or 13 pitchers for the bullpen? How do you compose a lineup with so much talent against a certain pitcher?

This is where you’re going to see how Boone really manages this Yankees team. He has done a great job so far with handling the injuries and the starting pitching struggles. A team with mostly minor leaguers most of the season–and the most injuries in the major leagues–also has a league-leading 95 wins and is on its way to a division title.

It is going to be very interesting to see how this last month of September baseball is going to play out. Some of these guys, despite how good they have been, are fighting for a roster spot in October. A good player will be left off the roster for the Yankees this year, but who it will be is the question Yankee fans and Aaron Boone should start to think about.