Since the beginning of the year, Brian Cashman has told the media that the team has a plan to manage Joba Chamberlain’s innings, so that he doesn’t so greatly exceed his previous season high. Drastic increases have proven risk, and although the Yankees could use their budding star in the rotation, they’ll put Chamberlain’s long-term development ahead of these immediate concerns. Yesterday the team let us know the plan for the rest of the season.
As discussed earlier in the week, it would appear the Yanks are trying to limit Joba to between 150 and 160 innings during the regular season. He’s currently at 126.2, so it wouldn’t seem that he has much left. Cashman said as much, announcing that Joba will start only six more times over the final 41 games of the season. That’s about once a week, so the Yanks will need the services of Chad Gaudin to help fill in the rest of the way.
All considered, this doesn’t seem like a bad plan. There’s a clear need, as outlined at length earlier this week, to keep Joba’s workload in check. To toss out another analogy, it’s like going easy on your car for the first 500 to 1,000 miles. Maybe you open it up right off the lot and nothing goes wrong…but that’s the anomaly. The idea is to keep it at a low limit until it’s broken in. Then you can gun it. Same deal with Joba.
Of course, anyone is at liberty to disagree, though I’ve seen few convincing arguments to the contrary. The Yankees, who have a vested interest in Joba’s long-term health and effectiveness, have decided to keep a cap on Joba’s innings, so that they can get the most use out of him now and in the future. Since the cap figures to be at 160 to 165 innings this year, plus playoffs, we could see Joba without limitations next year. Like the decision to not trade for Santana, this long-term-minded plan could end up helping the Yankees down the line.