One of the larger issues the Yankees will have to deal with this off-season is what to do regarding the rotation next year, specifically with Joba Chamberlain. Hints and rumors abounded that the Yanks would employ a similar strategy as this year; that is, start him in the bullpen and transition him mid-year, so that he can stay under his innings cap. It seems the Yanks are believers in the 30-inning rule, so Joba would be limited to around 130 to 135 innings next year. Not exactly what you want from a front line starter.
Peter Abraham, writing in his paper, not on his blog, discussed the topic with Joe Girardi. It seems that the team might actually get creative with their use of Joba, rather than try for the simplest method of limiting his innings, which is what they did this year.
“Will the inning restrictions be there next year? Possibly,” Girardi said. “But he’s going to be a year stronger. He’s got 100 innings, and part of that was rehabbing a little bit. It’s something we’ll discuss.”
“There are a lot of different things where you can be creative,” Girardi said. “If you have depth in your rotation, (Chamberlain doesn’t) have to make 32 starts like everybody else. … You skip a start here, those type of things.”
That means having four other viable starters who can shoulder the load while Joba skips starts. It also means having a viable sixth option, since we know that injury can strike at any time. Just another sign that the Yankees will have a busy off-season in the pitching department.