4 bold postseason roster decisions Yankees need to make before ALDS
The ALDS begins on Tuesday, Oct. 11 and the New York Yankees will take on either the Cleveland Guardians or the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx. Plenty of decisions still need to be made before Game 1, however.
Though the Yankees finished with 99 wins and captured their second AL East division crown since 2013 (kind of embarrassing, to be honest), this roster still has a ton of question marks in regard to production, health and fit.
In your head, you might be able to sort most of these things out. But the postseason roster needs to be more carefully constructed than that. Sometimes all the answers aren’t on the surface and managers/front offices need to maneuver a bit to make to moves that truly click and make the necessary difference.
The Yankees rarely do that, though. They’re “by the book.” The “out of the box” decisions rarely ever take centerstage. But now it’s time that happens because of how complete this team looks (for the most part) heading into the playoffs. Doesn’t this version of the Yankees feel like they may have the best shot, all things considered (battle-tested, weakened AL, consistent offense, top starting rotation)?
If they clean things up around the edges and provide advantages/sparks in every corner possible, we could be looking at a satisfying October run.
4 bold roster moves Yankees need to make before ALDS
4. Leave Aroldis Chapman and Aaron Hicks off the Roster
This team is the best version of itself when Aroldis Chapman doesn’t pitch and when Aaron Hicks isn’t playing the outfield.
It sounds harsh, but Chapman’s fallen off a cliff these last couple years and is either less effective than every other bullpen option or he makes his outings exponentially more difficult than anybody else.
The Yankees bullpen is thin even with Chapman, but what has he done this year (or last) to convince you that he’ll productively eat innings in October? Why not just gamble on Greg Weissert? Chapman is a known commodity (a bad one). At least Weissert’s nasty slider gives you a potential weapon.
As for Hicks, injuries have derailed three of his last six seasons, and he’s been a shell of his former self following Tommy John (2019) and wrist tendon sheath surgery (2021). Though he’s been able to work good at-bats this year (.330 OBP vs .216 BA), that’s not exactly the value the Yankees need.
Wouldn’t fans rather a combo of Oswaldo Cabrera/Giancarlo Stanton in left field? Is Hicks really necessary unless there’s an injury? Plus, if the Yankees carry Tim Locastro, there’s no need for Hicks. Someone who can play better defense and be a pinch runner is already levels above.