If Brian Cashman is the GM of the Phillies or Nationals or some other team next season, remember this day.
Hank Steinbrenner told the New York Times that Joba Chamberlain needs to be in the rotation now. As in right now.
That’s fine. Then by Aug. 15 when he has reached his innings limit, Kei Igawa can take over. Or maybe on July 15 when he has Tommy John surgery. The Yankees have a plan to transition Joba into the rotation and it doesn’t call for a rash move on April 21.
Then this from Hank: “The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever. I had no say in it last year and I wouldn’t have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up.”
That’s fine, as well. The alternative would have been trading prospects for Eric Gagne then not making the playoffs. That sounds like a good plan. Or continuing to use Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth inning. How did that work?
It’s a simple math equation. Joba pitched 89 innings for Nebraska in 2006 because he was injured. Therefore, his innings in 2007 had to be carefully monitored to minimize the risk of further injury. Because he was so successful as a minor-league starter, Joba would have reached his innings cap in August.
So to fill a need in the majors and give the kid more experience, he was temporarily made into a reliever. Joba finished the season with a total of 116 innings.
Now he can probably pitch about 150 innings this season. Any more and you greatly increase the odds of injury based on a number of studies of pitchers in their early 20s. Perhaps you have heard of Francisco Liriano, Mark Prior, etc.
So the Yankees will start Joba in the pen, use him for one or two innings at a time and then put him in the rotation in July. It’s really not that complicated.
Why Hank would cause such problems for Cashman and Joe Girardi this early in the season isn’t clear. But the Steinbrenner family owns the team and they can do whatever they want.
Cashman has already said today that Joba would remain in the bullpen and they will follow the plan in place. I would imagine Hal Steinbrenner has been called in to try and add a little reason to the mix.
But if this sort of exchange is going to define how the Yankees are run, why would Cashman stick around? One thing for certain: the 29 other teams love it.