Aaron Boone
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees will be without a clubhouse cult hero in their Division Series matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The New York Yankees have announced their roster for their American League Division Series matchup with the rival Tampa Bay Rays. The final 28-man group can be seen below via the team PR department’s official Twitter.

The Yankees will carry 14 pitchers compared to the Rays’ 13. This makes sense and is the right move. Pitching is the x-factor in this series and with no days off, the New York Yankees will need fresh arms every step of the way.

The most notable addition is rookie Michael King, a prospect who showed promise despite struggles in 2020. He posted a 7.76 ERA in nine games (four starts) and pairs a plus-fastball with a mix of offspeed pitches. His soft contact rate was a respectable 19.5%, his groundball rate (GB%) was 40.2%. Bad luck played a big role as his BABIP was .325, but he’s good to have for length out of the bullpen.

Notably absent from the roster, however, is veteran backup catcher Erik Kratz. The 40-year-old veteran of the minors has been a great clubhouse presence for the New York Yankees this year, especially in the development of rookie Deivi Garcia. He is instead in the additional player pool, and will certainly cheer on his teammates from afar.

The Yankees also included rookie righty Nick Nelson, who posted a 4.79 ERA in 11 relief appearances this year.

All in all, this is the best roster the Yankees could have put together. Kratz is fun to have around, but there really isn’t room for three catchers in a series this important. Arms that can step up when everyone is tired are key, and the Yankees going with 14 compared to the Rays’ 13 is a smart move.

Game 1 kicks off on TBS Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.