While the Yankees 25-man roster for the playoffs is all but set, we all pretty much know who will be on it. However in this column, I want to point out the handful of players who will make it without having earned their spot.
In some cases, it isn’t entirely the player's fault. Injury and a lack of playtime have held Jason Giambi back—although injury is not new to this one time MVP-caliber player.
Jason has missed more than two months in the 2007 season. Nevertheless, since coming back, Jason is hitting under .180. While he has had seven homeruns over that period, his OBP is way down. While it is usually in the .400's, his OBP is below .300 since his return. Add to that just 16 RBI, and he has been anything but an offensive force.
One can argue that a lack of playtime since coming back have kept his statistics down. I disagree with this statement, because he has been given the opportunity to play as of late. He has been given at-bats to try to break out of his slump and he has accomplished next to nothing.
Giambi is nowhere near the player he once was, and he is no longer an offensive threat. I know he will be on the Yankees' 25 man roster as a pinch-hit “threat” and will no doubt be called on to get the big hit late in the game. This will most certainly turn out poorly—if he even manages the same results this postseason as he had last postseason, we can expect a .125 batting average and 1 RBI.
Jason is no longer the hitter with the great eye who can earn a walk as well as drive the ball a long way. He chases pitches out of the zone constantly and has never been able to adjust to the “Giambi shift.”
While we covered Jason Giambi on the offensive side, I would like to mention a couple relief pitchers in this list as well. For whatever reason, Joe Torre has given P Sean Henn opportunity after opportunity to pitch in big spots—and often, usually resulting in a poor outcome.
He has been inconsistent at the best of times. He pitched well in April, ending with a 3.00 era. Very respectable if you consider how terrible the Yankee pitching staff was the first months. In May however, he was unable to be consistent.
With just two innings pitched in the month, the reliever allowed five runs and five walks, skyrocketing his ERA to over 19.00! He wasn’t used again until July, where he continued to walk hitters—and though he only gave up two earned runs in 5 innings, Henn again proved he was unreliable.
Then he went bad! He pitched in six games in August, allowing 19 hits, 9 walks and 18 runs over 9.1 innings pitched. These stats point to one thing: Penn is unable to get outs. He consistently walks players (he has given up 27 walks in 36 innings) and has given up 44 hits. For whatever reason, Sean Henn has received chance after chance to prove himself, and all that he has proved is that he is unable to perform (at least at this point) at the major league level.
Another pitcher I want to mention (though at times has been dominating!) has just been too inconsistent. Edwar Ramirez—a favorite of many of you—was actually out of baseball when he taught himself his devastating change-up.
His first career appearance (July 3rd against Minnesota) gave us a glimpse of what Edwar is capable of. He dominated the Twins, going 1-2-3 and striking out three. There have been times this season where he has been as dominating as Joba Chamberlain!
There have also been times where he is unable to spot his change-up and fastball. With a fastball topping out at 90 mph, he can ill-afford to lose his control. He allowed 12 runs over 9 innings in September, and has shown that he has some issues to work out before he is ready for the big stage.
With his stuff, I hate to put Ramirez on this list—he can have a serious impact on a game. But not this season. He would be unreliable in the playoffs, and we need to limit the weak links if we hope to compete for the ALCS and World Series.
Tim Morley writes daily articles on the New York Yankees. His site is located at: www.nyypride.com