Yankees made a huge mistake building their ALDS roster and it’s coming back to bite them

Alexander Wilson
oswald peraza, yankees
Sep 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) tries to beat the tag of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt (14) in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Yankees were constructing their ALDS roster, they made several odd decisions after electing to leave DJ LeMahieu off due to his right toe injury. Needing a utility option, the Yankees included Marwin Gonzalez, who has experience playing every infield position and can feature in the outfield if need be.

However, the hope was always that Gonzalez would never have to play due to injury or any given reason. There was a strong argument that the Yankees should’ve included Oswald Peraza over Gonzalez, despite the difference in experience and utility usage.

The Yankees needed to include Oswald Peraza on the ALDS roster:

Peraza can feature at second, shortstop, and third base but doesn’t have the necessary experience at first or in the outfield. However, given Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s liabilities and lack of efficiency at times, they needed a secondary option just in case.

After Saturday night’s game against Cleveland, where IKF missed several opportunities resulting in runs for the Guardians, manager Aaron Boone is likely regretting his decision to leave Peraza off the roster.

Peraza was adequate during his 18 games of action at the major league level. He hit .306 with a 40.4% on-base rate, including a 15.8% strikeout rate and a 10.5% walk rate. He showcased veteran-level vision in the batter’s box and made routine plays in the outfield without any problems. He played 12 games at shortstop, earning a perfect fielding percentage with 22 assists and four double plays.

As for IKF on Saturday, he allowed a ball to go right underneath him in the first inning and double-clutched a throw in the sixth inning, allowing Guardians second baseman Andres Gimenez to reach safely. Those two plays allowed Cleveland to score two additional runs, giving them the 6–5 lead they needed to secure Game 3 of the ALDS and put the Yankees in an extremely difficult spot with one more game on the road before heading home for Game 5 (if they win Sunday).

Poor roster construction and decision-making late in games have already plagued manager Aaron Boone, who doesn’t seem to be on a short leash given the Yankees’ inability to push past the ALCS, let alone the ALDS this season.

The postseason is a game of the hot hand, and liabilities in the infield ultimately bite you right back. The never-ending confidence in IKF has been strange to witness, and after several poor defensive plays, there’s a really strong argument to make that the Yankees should replace him on Sunday night.

However, their best option would’ve been Peraza, and now they have to choose between options like Marwin Gonzalez or shifting Oswaldo Cabrera, which may be a forced move. That would indicate the Yankees include Aaron Hicks at left field, but he’s had his own issues in the past defensively and as an offensive piece.

Question is, do they trust Hicks more than Hicks in the batter’s box, and can Cabrera offer adequate defense at shortstop. It is a big decision to be making in a game that could send the Yankees home for the rest of the postseason, but one that might be necessary, given the fact they’re losing because of IKF’s bad defensive play.