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Derek Jeter
Hey! My name is Zachary and this is my site, Yankee Mania, where I explore the games, players, and transactions of the greatest team in baseball. Hated by some but loved by others, the New York Yankees have dominated the world of sports for over a century. This year I follow their noble quest to win yet another World Series Championship. Click here to send me an email!

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Who is most deserving of a spot on the Opening Day roster?
Morgan Ensberg
Chris Woodward
Billy Traber
Scott Paterson
Ross Ohlendorf
Brian Bruney

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Yankees 2008 Roster
By mvyb, 24.03.2008, 14:10

It'll soon be time for Mr. Girardi to make a decision regarding his 25-man roster. He'll probably announce the roster on Saturday, giving us only two days to worry, doubt, and question his choices before the regular season opens. Here's how I'd layout the Opening Day roster:
First check out the current 40-Man Roster and, of course, the Non-Roster Invitees.
Here's a list of players certain to be on the Opening Day roster:
Joba Chamberlain, Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Chien-Ming Wang, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada, Wilson Betemit, Robinson Cano, Shelley Duncan, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Melky Cabrera.
That's 21 players in, and 4 spots open.
Available spots:
Backup Infielder/ Bench
The battle for utility player "rages" between Nick Green, Chris Woodward, and Morgan Ensberg. Green is a drifter who has played for Atlanta, Tampa Bay, New York (remember his home run against the Mets on July 2, 2006?), and Seattle. His career stats are borderline embarrassing, even for a utility guy. Woodward has also drifted around from team to team, playing for the Blue Jays, Braves, and Mets over the last 8 years. He hit a whopping 13 home runs backing 2002, but hasn't really swung the bat well since leaving Toronto. Morgan Ensberg has had the most impressive career of all three of our candidates. He hit 25 home runs in 2003, 36 home runs in 2005, and 23 home runs in 2006. His highest career batting average is .291 (back in 2003), but he only hit .224 and drove in a pitiful 4 home runs last year. The Yankees picked up Ensberg during the offseason and hitting coach Dave Eiland has helped Ensberg reform his swing. Ensberg is healthy and has been hitting beautifully in spring training so far this year (.318 BA). The Yankees have already placed Ensberg on the 40-man roster, an almost sure sign that he has made the team. And, yes, he's my choice too.
Winner: Morgan Ensberg
Lefty Reliever
I am of the firm belief that every successful team should have at least one lefty reliever. I hope Girardi agrees with me. Unfortunately, the Yankees have slim pickings when it comes to a lefty reliever, here are the nominees: Kei Igawa, Billy Traber, and Heath Phillips. I'd love to tell you Igawa has miraculously repaired his mechanics and is pitching beautifully, and that the Yankees did not waste their 30+ million dollars. But that would be a lie. I thought I had seen the worst of Igawa in 2007, but here in Spring Training, he's outdone himself. Igawa started the spring by giving up a grand slam to some unknown college player and then, in his second outing, walked the bases loaded. Since then, he's been giving away runs faster then I can count them! Billy Traber, meanwhile, has come out of nowhere and out pitched the two leading candidates for the job. Traber (former Indian and National) has a gorgeous 0.00 and has struck out a boatload of lefties. Heath Phillips is probably the most talented of the three pitchers in this contest, but has looked awful this spring. Not only has he given up a ton of hits (and has a bloated ERA), but he has also been ineffective against lefties. Now, what's the good of a lefty reliever is he can't get lefties out? Remember Mike Myers?
Winner: Billy Traber
Long Man/ Spot Starter
Yet another exciting battle between Yankee players, lies in the race for the long man position. The competitors are: Heath Phillips, Kei Igawa, Darrell Rasner, and Jeff Karstens. The first two I ruled out earlier. One's not ready for the majors yet, the other will never be. So the battle has been whittled down to Rasner v. Karstens. Jeff Karstens is 1-3 this spring with a 9.64 ERA. Opponents bat a whopping .452 against him, and he's only struck out 5 men. Darrell Rasner, meanwhile, is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA (and a 2-1, strikout to walk ratio). Hmmm... Neither has been very good, so let's check out some career stats. Karstens made his major league debut in 2006 with the Yankees and since then has made 9 starts. He's 3-5 with a 5.65 ERA. I still remember his contribution to the '06 season (stepping up and pitching well, saving the team from utter collapse), so I'd like to see him on the team. Darrell Rasner made his major league debut in 2005 for Washington and was traded to the Yankees in 2006. He's made 10 career starts and is 4-5 with a 5.13 ERA. The numbers slightly point to Rasner, but for some reason I'd prefer Karstens on the team. Maybe it's his '06 starts or the fact that the Red Sox broke his leg, but I like Karstens. He's actually got decent stuff and is a bit more dominant then Rasner is. I think if he stays healthy, he'll be able to contribute this year.
Winner: Jeff Karstens
Righty Reliever/ Final Spot in the Bullpen
This final spot is the most tightly contested spot on the Yankees roster. Meet the candidates: Brian Bruney, Chris Britton, Ross Ohlendorf, and Scott Patterson. Here we go. Brian Bruney is a big (and I mean BIG) righty hurler that often has trouble finding the strike zone. Bruney made his major league debut in 2004 for Arizona, and came over to New York in 2006. His career numbers aren't pretty: 8-10, 4.93 ERA, 114 BB, and 149 K. That's waaaay too many walks. If Girardi likes seeing strikes, he won't like seeing Bruney on the mound. Chris Britton pitched for the Orioles in 2006 and the Yankees in 2007. His career numbers are decent: 0-3, 3.39 ERA, 21 BB, and 46 K. Ross Ohlendorf pitched in 6 games in Spetmember for the Yankees. In those 6 games, he pitched 6.1 innings and had a 2.84 ERA with 9 strikouts and only 2 walks. Very nice. Scott Patterson is a 29-year old righty with a career minor league record of 32-13 with a 3.08 ERA. He's the oldest of our nominations, but also the only one without major league experience. The career numbers really don't tell us enough, so let's check out their spring stats. Bruney has pitched in 7 games and holds a 2.84 ERA with 8 K's and 2 BB's. He's come into camp in great shape (lost a lot of weight), is throwing hard (97-100 mph), and is throwing strikes. Chris Britton has pitched 5 games and has a beautiful ERA of 1.80 with 3 K's and 0 BB's. Ross Ohlendorf is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA. He has struck out 8 while walking only 1! And finally, Scott Patterson has 1 save, a 0.00 ERA, 6 strikouts, and 0 walks. Wow, each player has performed very well this spring. This is gonna be a very, very difficult choice for Girardi. Scott Patterson has been the most dominant of all the candidates, but he's only pitched 6 innings and has no major league experience. Ok, time to make a decision. He's thrown 80% of his pitches for strikes, has really good stuff, and may finally give us something in return for Gary Sheffield.
Winner: Ross Ohlendorf
Ok, here's my 2008 Opening Day 25-Man Roster.
C- Jorge Posada
1B- Shelley Duncan
2B- Robinson Cano
3B- Alex Rodriguez
SS- Derek Jeter
OF- Hideki Matsui
OF- Bobby Abreu
OF- Johnny Damon
DH- Jason Giambi
U- Wilson Betemit
U- Morgan Ensberg
C- Jose Molina
OF- Melky Cabrera
RHP- Chien-Ming Wang
LHP- Andy Pettitte
RHP- Phil Hughes
RHP- Mike Mussina
RHP- Ian Kennedy
RHP- Mariano Rivera
RHP- Kyle Farnsworth
RHP- Joba Chamberlain
RHP- LaTroy Hawkins
LHP- Billy Traber
RHP- Jeff Karstens
RHP- Ross Ohlendorf
Alright, what do you think?

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