If you were paying attention, you knew something was up when the Yankees promoted J.B. Cox to Scranton and Mark Melancon to Trenton last week.
Now it has been confirmed, Joba Chamberlain has started the process to become a starter according to Joe Girardi.
In truth, it started in spring training when Chamberlain was used as a starter. They kept him in the bullpen this long to control his innings. Chamberlain will now he used for multiple innings to get stretched out. It sounds like most of that work will be done in the majors.
Once the transition is made, Joba will finish out the season as a starter, get to around 150 innings and be ready to go 180-185 innings in 2009.
This issue has (and will be) debated endlessly. But to me it’s simple: You don’t waste an arm like his in the eighth inning. You just don’t. Chamberlain can be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, he’s that good. A No. 1 or No. 2 starter is twice as valuable as a set-up man.
It also underlines the idea that 2008 is a transition season for the Yankees in many ways. Taking Chamberlain out of the set-up role may cost them a win or two or three along the way. But what he can become in the long run is far more important than individual games.
Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have a long-range view. If you’re a fan, you should accept that now and stop sweating every pitch. The Yankees are trying to build a foundation for 2009 and beyond.