Earlier today, Joe Girardi announced that Phil Hughes will begin the 2010 season as the Yankees number five starter. The Yankees are saying he won the job out of Spring Training, and sealed the deal with the development of a good changeup. However, I think the Yankees knew who they wanted as their fifth starter months ago, and just used Spring Training as a way to get all the “candidates” to really push themselves.
So will there be Hughes Rules? Yes, there probably will be. But fortunately they shouldn’t be as bad as the Joba Rules were last year. Hughes threw a combined 111 innings last year between the minors, the majors, and the postseason. In 2008 and 2007, however, Hughes was below 111 innings. His career high in innings pitched came in 2006 when he threw 146 innings. We don’t know whether the Yankees base their innings limit on career highs or the previous year for a pitcher, but let’s just assume it is a mix between the two. I’m going to the say the Yankees would be comfortable letting Hughes go about 170 innings in 2010. We wouldn’t have to worry about any of this with Joba.
So where the this leave out good pal Joba Chamberlain. Well, the smart route in my opinion would be to send him to Scranton to get some innings and also some valuable time to just experiment and let it fly. However, when I look at the writing on the wall, it looks like Joba is going to the bullpen. As you already know, I do not like the thought of Joba (or Phil for that matter) in the bullpen. What was the point of stretching Joba out over past few years and finally getting him off an innings limit if you just wanted to put him in the bullpen. You can not tell me Joba pitched himself out of starting just based on the second half of 2009. Oh well, I hope we get some answers soon.
Anyway, I’m happy for Hughes and have nothing against him being in the rotation. I just don’t like Joba being in the bullpen (if that is what happens). It doesn’t seem wise for 2011 and the future, and you could even argue that it is not smart for 2009 because Joba may be a better starter at this point than Phil. This decision really makes me question the Yankees front office, but in the end they know better and us fans just have to follow in what they do.