Yankees have a big roster decision to make ahead of the playoffs

Alexander Wilson
oswaldo cabrera, yankees
Aug 21, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees short stop Oswaldo Cabrera (95) makes a throw to first against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning the game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees trampled over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night, 13–4. After winning three consecutive games with a 4–2 scoreline, the Yankees’ offense finally exploded, thanks to the return of Giancarlo Stanton.

Despite an inefficient rehab assignment in the minor leagues, Stanton made an impact in his first game back with the Yankees since July 23. He posted a single to left field in the 2nd inning, driving in two runs, and walked in a run in the 3rd inning. He struck out once, making solid contact in three of his at-bats.

However, one of the most explosive performances on the evening was that of utility man Oswaldo Cabrera. Over six at-bats, Cabrera tallied three hits, including a single to left field in the 2nd inning, a single to left field in the 5th inning, and a double to deep right field in the 7th.

Cabrera elevated his average to .226 but went into the game with a sub .200 BA. In fact, he made contact on every single at-bat. On the season, the 23-year-old rookie has contributed two RBIs and seven hits over eight games. He does host a 27.3% strikeout rate and 6.1% walk rate, but those numbers are quickly changing as he gets more experience at the major league level.

The question is, should the Yankees consider him for the playoff roster?

Manager Aaron Boone is expecting Harrison Bader and Matt Carpenter to make a return in mid-September, who will take up two roster spots.

However, with playoff rosters expanding in the postseason, they can likely fit Cabrera and his fantastic utility qualities. He’s featured at 3rd base, SS, 2nd base, and right field across his first eight games as a professional. He made one error at 2nd base, running into Marwin Gonzalez in the outfield, which resulted in a two-run homer immediately after by Dan Vogelbach.

Otherwise, Cabrera has been impeccable, providing 5 defensive runs saved above average, which is an incredible metric compared to others on the team.

Oswaldo Cabrera can help at many different positions:

While DJ LeMahieu serves as the primary infield utility man, having Cabrera starting in right field takes a ton of pressure off Boone, who was looking desperately for a reason to bench Aaron Hicks and his struggling bat. With Bader making a return, he will take over in center-field, sliding Judge back to RF.

It will be interesting to see how Boone utilizes Cabrera in the infield. Since Giancarlo Stanton is expected to serve as a designated hitter, will Cabrera play on the hot corner or at 2nd base, shifting DJ LeMahieu to third and benching Josh Donaldson?

That seems to be the most efficient way to utilize his elite defense up to this point. However, that would also indicate Gleyber Torres isn’t involved in the starting roster. The Yankees simply need more time to see a sample size of numbers to determine whether or not he can contribute during the playoffs. The next few weeks will showcase his offensive contributions, which is the last remaining factor.