Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankees Opening Day Roster
2008-03-29 05:08
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees set their Opening Day roster yesterday. First the expected moves: Jeff Karstens was placed on the 15-day DL, though he's expected to miss at least a month; Nick Green and Jose Veras were sent down, as were Edwar Ramirez and Scott Patterson.

Here's where the surprises come in. Andy Pettitte threw 25 pitches in the bullpen yesterday and is still on schedule to pitch a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday (against Ian Kennedy) and then make a start in the first trip through the rotation in the regular season. However, because he hasn't pitched in a spring training game since March 17 the Yankees were able to put him on the 15-day DL retroactive to that start, thus making him eligible to come off the DL to start the fifth game of the regular season a week from today against the Rays.

With Pettitte on the DL, the Yankees will have an eight-man bullpen and thus have decided to start the season without a long-man. With two extra spots available (Pettitte's and the one expected to be filled by a long-reliever), they are taking two extra right-handed short relievers. Thus Brian Bruney, Ross Ohlendorf, and the big surprise to me, Jonathan Albaladejo will all start the season with the big club, while Kei Igawa and Darrell Rasner will both start the season in the Scranton rotation.

My only complaint is that Scott Patterson should have made the team over Albaladejo, but then Albaladejo will likely get bumped when Pettitte comes off the DL a week from today, so that's likely moot. I'll be curious to see if Girardi renews his desire for long man once the bullpen is down to seven men. If so, it will force another decision. For now, here are your 2008 New York Yankees:

1B - Jason Giambi (L)
2B - Robinson Cano (L)
SS - Derek Jeter (R)
3B - Alex Rodriguez (R)
C - Jorge Posada (S)
RF - Bobby Abreu (L)
CF - Melky Cabrera (S)
LF - Johnny Damon (L)
DH - Hideki Matsui (L)

R - Shelley Duncan (1B/OF)
R - Morgan Ensberg (1B/3B)
S - Wilson Betemit (IF)
R - Jose Molina (C)

R - Chien-Ming Wang
R - Mike Mussina
R - Phil Hughes
R - Ian Kennedy

R - Mariano Rivera
R - Joba Chamberlain
L - Billy Traber
R - LaTroy Hawkins
R - Kyle Farnsworth
R - Brian Bruney
R - Ross Ohlendorf
R - Jonathan Albaladejo

15-day DL: L - Andy Pettitte, R - Jeff Karstens, L - Sean Henn
60-day DL: R - Humberto Sanchez, R - Andrew Brackman, R - Carl Pavano

Mike Jacobs abused Mike Mussina and the Fish beat the Yanks 5-3.


L - Johnny Damon (LF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
R - Shelley Duncan (DH)
S - Melky Cabrera (CF)

Pitchers: Mike Mussina, LaTroy Hawkins, Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez

Subs: Wilson Betemit (1B), Bernie Castro (2B), Cody Ransom (SS), Nick Green (PR/3B), Jose Molina (C), Greg Porter (PR/RF), Jason Lane (CF), Hideki Matsui (LF)

Opposition: What's left of the Marlins' starters.

Big Hits: A solo homer and a double by Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3, BB), a pair of doubles by Johnny Damon (2 for 3), and a double by Derek Jeter (2 for 4). Jason Giambi was 2 for 4.

Who Pitched Well: Jonathan Albaladejo and Edwar Ramirez both worked around a hit for a scoreless frame and struck out one. The hit off Alabaladejo was a single. The hit off Ramirez was a triple.

Who Didn't: Mike Mussina gave up five runs on five hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. Two of those hits were home runs by Mike Jacobs which accounted for three of the five runs Mussina allowed.

Ouchies: Johnny Damon (flu) played the field and went 2 for 3 with a double. Humberto Sanchez will throw off a mound for the first time since his Tommy John surgery on Monday.

More: Derek Jeter says he wants to own a team after he retires.

2008-03-29 07:34:40
1.   OldYanksFan
Posted from previous thread: (is that illegal?)
I might be wrong, but it seems like now that we are bringing some kids up, people want every kid that looks good up, ASAP.

Patterson hasn't even pitched AAA yet.
He may be a better alternative to Dorf or Bruney, but does a dozen innings of ST tell us that? Abby is only up for Andy.

SWB will be a revolving door. God knows what our BP will be come Sept. I'm not too concerned with who's here in April.

2008-03-29 07:35:06
2.   monkeypants
It's probably the best roster more or less, given limits imposed by carrying 12 pitchers. It still amazes me that they seem to need to carry so many 1B-DH types, just like last year. I can't wait for real baseball to start.
2008-03-29 07:40:38
3.   tommyl
2 I don't really see it as so many 1B/DH types. You have Matsui, Giambi and Duncan. Giambi is going to attempt to be a 1B, but Matsui can play LF (or RF in a pinch) and Duncan can play 1B and both OF corners. Throw in Betemit as the UIF and Ensberg who can play the IF corners and you have every position covered without a single true black hole player. Its quite different than a roster full of Miguel Cairo's.
2008-03-29 08:02:31
4.   monkeypants
3 Its quite different than a roster full of Miguel Cairo's.

Music to my ears! ; )

2008-03-29 08:13:46
5.   markp
That last comment sums up why I disagree with Lohud about the roster. Torre IMO, would have kept Green (and probably played him at 1B a dozen times or more), not Ensberg.

It looks like several Yankee hitters are going into the season with fairly hot bats. That and their being in better shape bodes well for avoiding the recent slow starts. (Now watch them go 6-15 to start.)

I think it's funny that when Mussina et al complained about the Japan trip, they were called whiners (especially Moose), but now that Boston is complaining, it's a real problem.

2008-03-29 08:23:06
6.   Adrian
And Lo! A day will come when the words "Carl Pavano" are no longer found on any Yankees roster, and the women will weep tears of joy, the children cavort in the streets, and the men beat their swords into plowshares. The Jeter will lie down with the Rodriguez, and the earth no longer tremble beneath the footsteps of the Mittless Brute, Giambi.
2008-03-29 08:40:04
7.   bartap74
I haven't bought baseball cards in years, but if Topps were to put out a Carl Pavano card listing his position as DL, I'd buy 2.
2008-03-29 08:45:05
8.   Bruce Markusen
Patterson outpitched Albaladejo this spring, but Albaladejo's September performance should count for something. I put more weight on actual regular season games in September vs. spring training exhibitions.

If Patterson continues to pitch well, he'll be up soon enough. Bruney has to start throwing more strikes, otherwise he'll be giving way to one of the group featuring Patterson, Ramirez, Britton, etc.

All in all, I think that Girardi and Cashman have done a good job in putting together the Opening Day roster. They've gone with power arms in the pen, which I like. The bench is almost 100 per cent improved from last year, with Ensberg being added to Molina, Betemit, and Duncan.

The one thing the bench lacks is a speedster, but that could be addressed later in the season with Gardner.

2008-03-29 09:16:09
9.   wsporter
8 Bruce I agree completely on Albaladejo, he did look good last September and that should count for more. I do really like Patterson and believe he was the easily most impressive candidate in the group trying to push their way into the mix. I also think he will help us this year.

I like Gardner as an August/September call up. Perhaps August to avoid having to maneuver him on to a playoff roster. I can see the scenario arising where we're down a run in the 9th, Giambi singles and we bring in Betemit to pinch run. The odds of him stealing a base to get himself into scoring position are not great. I'm wondering if J. Christian plays well if he might not be a candidate as well. I really have a soft spot for these IL guys.

2008-03-29 09:53:35
10.   51cq24
7 i'll make you 2 for $40 million each
2008-03-29 10:03:18
11.   wsporter
11 Will you take a post dated check?
2008-03-29 10:04:16
12.   wsporter
11 tht's ehm 10

Oh forget it.

2008-03-29 10:40:16
13.   Dan M
I know it's Spring Training, but when was the last time a Yankees starter came anywhere close to having a quality start (or what would have been a QS had they pitched long enough)? It's starting to scare the heck out of me.
2008-03-29 10:59:43
14.   joejoejoe
That's a pretty awesome roster. I'd be happier if we had a twentysomething OF in the mix who could rake but then so would everybody. On to the Bronx!
2008-03-29 13:29:48
15.   tommyl
4 My ears as well. Many on other boards or in the MSM have bemoaned the lack of a true UIF but they call fail to realize that if anyone goes down for more than a few games, they'll be on the DL and you can call up someone like Gonzalez from AAA.
2008-03-29 13:34:10
16.   OldYanksFan
Appropo to Absolutely Nothing Dept:
Speaking here about Yu Darvish, I commented that I thought the transition from Japan to MLB was difficult to assess, especially for pitchers. I though position players fared better, especially Ichiro and Matsui. However, in examining their stats I noticed:

Ichiro averaged 15 HRs/yr and a 0.950ish OPS in Japan. Here, 10 Hrs and a .820ish OPS.
Matsui averaged 40 HRs/yr and a 1.000ish OPS in Japan. Here, 25 HRs and a .850ish OPS.

Those are fairly significant drop-offs.

Are these guys 2 of the best?
Are there Japanese players who have fared better? (we won't talk about Kaz Matsui).
And Japan has a shorter season, more regular rest and smaller stadiums.

The Mariners paid a $13.1 million posting fee in 2001. We know Dice-K got $51m in 2007.

The Yankees, and maybe the Sox, are the only teams that enjoy a tax break on the posting fee. I wonder if having to pay a posting fee on top of salary makes good baseball sense, or if it's more about politics.

2008-03-29 14:40:56
17.   JL25and3
5 Torre IMO, would have kept Green (and probably played him at 1B a dozen times or more), not Ensberg.

That's just silly. Remember, Torre had Green before and didn't use him, or keep him.

We had this discussion the other day, and you listed a bunch of particulars that you remembered. I don't know if you read the response, but you were mistaken on just about every one of them., comment 48. (How do you link a specific comment?)

2008-03-29 15:52:48
18.   debris
"L - Billy Traber
R - LaTroy Hawkins
R - Kyle Farnsworth
R - Brian Bruney
R - Ross Ohlendorf
R - Jonathan Albaladejo"

Wow, Texas' bullpen really has gone downhill. What, this isn't Texas?

The only established major league pitchers here are either mediocre (Hawkins) or suck (Farnsworth.) If I held season tickets, I'd ask for a rebate. For a $210,000,000 team, this is shameful.

2008-03-29 15:54:24
19.   tommyl
18 How so? Which teams do you feel have phenomenally better pens in the majors? Who should they have gone after?
2008-03-29 15:58:33
20.   rilkefan
17 Last year Torre reportedly opposed getting Ensberg, and the FO relented because they thought the latter wouldn't see any playing time given the former. Same year Torre misused Edwar and Duncan.
2008-03-29 16:38:55
21.   JL25and3
20 I take all the "reportedly" with a grain of salt. Who reported, and with what agenda?

I'm not so sure Torre misused Edwar all that much. I think we all got bamboozled by that first appearance, and the fact was that Edwar just isn't that good.

But, frankly, it gets really hard to have any sort of discussion about this. I feel like there's a constant bait-and-switch going on. What did bullpen usage have to do with whether or not he insisted on playing washed-up veterans over more talented kids? What do Duncan and Edwar have to do with his supposed infatuation with Miguel Cairo?

2008-03-29 16:43:38
22.   ny2ca2dc
geez, here comes the parade of dead horses.

In other news, it sounds like Phil is pitching good, and Giambi is impressing. Damon, maybe not so much...

2008-03-29 17:07:46
23.   tommyl
22 Phil is indeed cruising it seems, though the GO/FO ratio is still a tad worrisome. He would have only given up 1 run, but Jeter committed an error with two outs that allowed a run in.
2008-03-29 17:32:38
24.   OldYanksFan
Jeter injued? Hammy? Anyone got the scoop?

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