Joba Chamberlain has joined the crowd of players getting in early workouts in Tampa and tossed a light bullpen session today. He says he’s planning to start throwing all of his pitches the next time he takes to the mound (he threw only fastballs and change-ups in this one).
“I’m excited that they wanted me to be in a starting role,” Chamberlain told the AP. “You just prepare like you’re going to get 30 starts and that’s the mind-set you got to have set in.”
Odds are, Joba won’t get 30 starts. The innings-limit will still be an issue that will surely pop up throughout the season – he only threw about 100 innings last year because of injury.
One of the keys to Joba’s success or failure this year will be his ability to incorporate several pitches. As a reliever, you can be a one or two-pitch pitcher and have sustained success (see: Rivera, Mariano). It’s tougher to do that as a starter when you’re seeing hitters over and over. How well he can throw the secondary pitches this year will be a big indicator of whether he can give the Yankees what they need.
Also, good discussion on Jeter. To those who think it’s “too early,” I’ll grant you that the end of the contract is a ways way but I think you’re nuts if you don’t think the Yankees aren’t already talking about what they’re going to do. Jeter’s deal isn’t one you just hammer out right after the last day of his last season. It takes time and lots of negotiating because, despite what I saw in a few comments, he’s not just taking three years for $30 million when he’s making nearly twice that right now. This is a situation that will take some serious massaging.
FYI, I ran across this Rob Neyer blog entry where he essentially says that, statistically, the best decision for the Yanks would be to keep Jeter at short for two seasons and then let him walk.