Watching Jorge Posada hit his grand slam yesterday to go along with his two other hits was a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, you had to be happy for the grand old Yankee to have a moment in the sun in front of his faithful and appreciative home fans. But watching him round the bases, the first thought this writer had was: "What happens when Alex Rodriguez returns?"
You see, the Yankees have no wiggle room on their current 25-man roster--at least not for position players. The team only has four outfielders on the roster in Gardner, Granderson, Swisher and Jones. You need Nunez to spell Jeter and Cano. And Chavez can play first or third. So when Alex Rodriguez comes back, what does Jorge Posada do?
The Yankees have already indicated that they will start A-Rod as the DH three or four times a week to begin with. That will put Chavez or Nunez at third depending on the pitcher. That still leaves no room for Posada. He's definitely not going to catch, not with Martin and Cervelli firmly entrenched. That leaves him no role whatsoever on the team.
The return of A-Rod will lead to the decision of whether to keep twelve or thirteen pitchers on the 25-man roster. They currently sport thirteen. The extra starter complicates matters with six of them available. Robertson, Ayala, Soriano, Rivera and Logan aren't going anywhere. Cory Wade has earned his spot with solid performance since the Yankees stole him from the Bay Rays. The odd man out would seem to be Hector Noesi.
Noesi is useful if a starter falters early and you need to eat up innings. Those innings would have to be eaten up with Ayala and Wade, which is doable as long as it doesn't happen often because Wade is needed to spell Roberston and or Soriano when they pitch back to back games.
It's not the optimal situation for Girardi to lose a swing man like Noesi. But it's just for a couple of weeks until the rosters expand in September. Posada is a useful bat off the bench and as a spot starter. It wouldn't be a surprise if he lasts the season, a fact that at times have seemed to be in doubt. He's getting paid a lot of money, which does mean something to the Yankees. Look how they stick with Burnett, pretty much because of the money he is making. Posada also adds a lot of experience in stretch runs and over the playoffs. It would be a bit of a shock if Posada was the odd man out here. It will have to be Noesi. and that is the prediction from this vantage point.