Joba and Hughes to the pen!

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Yesterday, the debate began all over again, as if we hadn’t made our arguments a hundred times over. With just one open spot in the starting rotation, either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain will start the season in the bullpen. Ben tackled the topic yesterday, noting how Joba is saying all the right things — and doing them, too, as he’s in camp early. What he didn’t do is link to a Joel Sherman column about how the Yankees have supposedly already pegged Joba for the pen. He took the idea one step further, into pretty crazy territory.

Why not put both Joba and Hughes in the pen? That would, he claims, make the role of fifth starter even less necessary, because of the Yankees’ high-powered offense and, with both young pitchers in tow, their lights out bullpen. He at least admitted that it would hinder the development of either one into a future starter. With Andy Pettitte‘s and Javy Vazquez‘s contracts up after this season, the Yankees will need one, if not both, to hit the rotation in 2011.

While many of us just wrote off the idea as crazy, Dave Pinto, creative as he is, proposed a different type of idea. What if, instead of using Hughes and Chamberlain as one-inning setup men, the Yankees deployed them as bridges to Mariano unto themselves? In other words, they take over when the starter exits, and they pitch from that point until the ninth. If the Yankees rack up the score late, they could even pitch the ninth themselves, further increasing their innings totals.

In theory, I love the idea. I’ve long advocated changing the way teams use their bullpens, with a trend towards the multi-inning reliever. Having two pitchers in this role would help, as they could cover most late-inning situations, with the short relievers taking over when the starter goes seven and the game is close. But this is all theoretical. How would this work in practice?

April seems like the best opportunity for this type of bullpen scheme. Pitchers are still getting into the groove, and it seems like starters pitch fewer innings per start in April than any other month. That was true, at least, for the Yankees. Last April the Yankees starters pitched 126.1 innings, out of 197.1 total. That includes Wang’s three short starts, so it skews the sample in a way, but if the Yankees use both Hughes and Chamberlain in the bullpen they’ll have a fifth starter who, while not as bad as 2009 Wang, still probably won’t go shutting out opponents for eight innings.

In nine of the 22 starts, the starter did not make it out of the sixth inning. In an additional three starts, the starter went exactly six innings. These are the opportunities for the super relievers. Either Hughes or Chamberlain would enter in this situation and pitch up to, perhaps including, the ninth inning. As an experiment, let’s see how this could have panned out in April 2009, ignoring that some of the starts were made by Hughes and Chamberlain themselves.

Obviously this is a very rough estimate of when and how much they could pitch, and clearly the 2010 innings will not go the same as 2009. Using that as a guideline, however, it appears that in the super relief role, Hughes and Joba could get close to the number of innings they’d get as starters. Not quite to that level — Joba pitched 23 innings in April 2009 — but it would be pretty close. Plus, since they’ll prepare in spring training as starters, their arms can probably handle longer stints earlier in the year.

This accomplishes a few things. First, it reduces the need for a 12-man pitching staff. With Joba, Hughes, and Mo covering almost 50 innings in relief, the Yanks shouldn’t need four other guys to cover the rest. Second, it allows them both to keep their innings up while also keeping them manageable. It would be much easier to keep Hughes under his innings limit if deployed in this manner. Third, it keeps them ready to fill in if a starter goes down — or if the fifth starter just isn’t working out.

Again, this is all theoretical. We have no way of knowing if this scheme can come close to working in practice. Can both pitchers adjust to this usage schedule, pitching two to four inning stints every three or four days? Also, what happens if the Yanks’ starters dominate one turn through the rotation? That might mean one inning each for Joba and Hughes over five days. There’s plenty of unpredictability in this model, and the Yankees might not favor that for their young starters.

The risk involved probably makes this idea a nonstarter, but it certainly has merits. It allows young pitchers to transition from AAA to the majors without jumping in as full-time starters. It allows teams to more easily manage their innings. It keeps them stretched out, so they can jump into a rotation spot in case of injury. But it also hasn’t really been done, at least to my knowledge, in recent years, and we don’t know what kind of effect these usage patterns will have on a pitcher’s arm. Maybe some small-market team will try this one day. Until then, I doubt a team like the Yankees will take any path except the traditional.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

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  • mike c

    i’d think it would be a cool idea, but our bullpen is already stacked as it is.. joba’s starter upside is too high

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    the fact that they do so well, and that we have those pen pieces, will cause us not to do anything new. it will take some pretty decent team running into an injury buzzsaw which forces them to try it. or a patently crappy team doing whatever it takes…but not us :(

  • Jose

    Maybe it’s just me but that table is a bit confusing. I suppose the final line has the most important take-home information.

  • Cecala

    I just came up with an idea. Instead of having them relieve the starter until Mariano, Have either Joba or Phil start, and then have the other relieve them. In a perfect world, both would pitch 4 innings each, but this will vary on how well the other is doing. So instead of having to decide between one, both would make things optimal.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      tag-team pitching!

      i bet we see a much better year out of joba this year-he seemed to look rougher 2/3 of the way through the year…he’ll be used to it this year, and i bet he’s much more comfortable–plus the confidence of being a world champion.

      • NextYankeeDynasty

        if he stays in the rotation and stays healthy, I see him going 13-8 with an ERA slightly under 4…..

        • Chris V.

          This was my idea for August and September of last year. It would have kept Joba’s innings down and created a pretty good 4th starter. They could have used the strategy in the playoffs as well if they chose not to go with only 3 starters

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      No. No no no no no. If one of them is going to relieve, for now, then the other needs to be a starter. And four inning, 60 pitch outings are not how you learn to be a starter at the ML level.

      • Cecala

        This is for the beginning of the season. As the season progresses, Joba will get more innings and Phil will get less. Joba averages around +/- 6 innings which would give Phil +/- 2 innings of relief and the games where Joba gets taken out early when he gets lit up. If his innings are still low, he can do 1 inning reliefs for CC and AJ.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Chamberlain threw 157 innings last year. There’s simply no reason to do that, any more than you’d cap Sabathia or Burnett or Vazquez or Pettitte to start the season. Joba needs to throw a full season.

          • Steve H

            Agreed. Tell him he’s a starter, just like the other 4 starters. There are no “rules” in place, now or later, and just let him pitch, no looking over his shoulder at the bullpen, at his pitch count, or at his inning count.

            • king of fruitless hypotheticals

              tell him he is temporarily the starter until he shits the bed, then he’ll lose his job…don’t want him getting comfortable :D

              • the artist formerly known as (sic)

                That’s pretty much what they did in September.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        he’s right–4 inning 100 pitch outings are how you learn to be a starter!

    • David

      I agree … make them share the 5th starter role. Joba starts and goes 5 then Hughes finishes the game and goes 4 (unless Mo is needed). Next time thru the rotation Hughes starts and goes 5 and Joba finishes and goes 4. Then, when a starter goes down, they have one ready to take his hole.

  • NextYankeeDynasty


    Who is the 5th starter then?
    Who is the 6th starter in case a starter goes down as neither Joba or Hughes would be stretched out?
    How did Joba pitch last season when expected to pitch 2-3 innings a game?
    How many times has Hughes pitched more than 1.1 in relief?
    What kind of data exists to prove that pitchers would stay healthy by doing this?

    In other words, since we have such a good chance at repeating, let the Pirates try something exotic like this IMO….

    • pete

      “In other words, since we have such a good chance at repeating, let the Pirates try something exotic like this IMO….”

      well put

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      *5th starter is probably Aceves, Gaudin or Mitre

      *6th starter is probably Mitre

      *Joba didn’t pitch well when expected to pitch “short starts”; in fairness, he slumped through that entire stretch of the season, so it’s hard to say correlation=causation.

      *Phil pitched more than 1.1 innings in relief six times last season, throwing up fairly good numbers. Not great numbers, though it’s somewhat obscured by one terrible effort against Boston.

      *I don’t know of any data proving any type of pitcher is healthier in certain roles Evidence would probably point to starters being the most taxed health-wise.

      *Agreed, let the Pirates do something weird and unnecessary to appease the media’s strange whims.

    • ralph

      Agreed. At best, this is something they should’ve done last year when both where on innings limits. Just let Joba be the freaking starter for Christ’s sake. No limits. Maybe if he can just let it fly with no worries he’ll become the pitcher capable of being.

      The Hughes Rules can begin next year when Pettite, Vazquez or both leave and Joba’s the 4th starter.

  • Mike P

    This theory only holds if the Yanks have a starter who regularly pitches 5 or 6 innings of decent ball (3-4, maybe 5 runs against max) yet still needs relieving. i.e. a fifth starter who’s predictably good but can’t go past the sixth inning. How many of those are there?? Even if that happens in 2/3 of his starts you’re still talking 4 situations in April. That would mean going for a completely unpredictable role for the sake of some 8 innings pitched by each youngster.

    Worth it? No way. If your 1-4 pitchers are in the game for the first 6 innings you don’t relieve them and you don’t base your strategy on predicting how your no 5 pitcher fares.

    • NextYankeeDynasty

      this theory makes more sense for a team like the As that has a bunch of young talented baby faced pitchers that you expect to get knocked around quite a bit…..for a rotation that has 4 guys in front that all eat up innings it doesnt make any sense to me….

      • DP

        Why would you expect the A’s pitchers to get “knocked around quite a bit”? Cahill and Anderson had decent years last year and should be expected to improve and they signed Sheets and Duchscherer. Sounds like someone is reading Feb. 2009 scouting reports…

  • Moshe Mandel

    It makes sense in theory only. I’m sorry, but the Yankees have not gone through all the trouble to get Joba to a point where he can start regularly just to have him pitch in 2 and 3 inning stints. They want these guys to be able to step into the rotation as regular contributors soon, and I dont think a role like this prepares them properly to do so. Quite frankly, I’d rather have both pitching in the AAA rotation than do this. With one of them, I’d be ok with it (ideally, Joba would start, Hughes would have this super reliever role, and next season Hughes would be the 5th).

    • Mike P

      It only makes sense in theory with a pretty huge caveat: you can predict that your fifth starter will have decent but short outings. That caveat is so huge I’d hardly call it a theory.

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    It’s fun to bat these ideas around, but if the Yankees are committed to Joba as a starter, its training-wheel-off time. No innings cap, no 65 pitch outings, no 3 inning appearances. And see what he can do. If they’re not, then they should put him in the pen and let Hughes start.

  • Rose

    What he didn’t do is link to a Joel Sherman column about how the Yankees have supposedly already pegged Joba for the pen.

    Why? If Joba has no training wheels…and Phil Hughes apparently does…doesn’t this answer who should be going where? (of course assuming no set backs in ST)

    But if you need to give Hughes more innings this year so he loses his training wheels by next year…perhaps you give him longer stints in the bullpen here and there…which may become necessary with Joba…who had trouble with his pitch count early on in the game.

    • Steve H

      Joba did have trouble with his pitch counts, but I think we will see a major improvement there. Do you think, that knowing he was on strict limits, he was trying to be too fine which resulted in his wildness? With the training wheels off, knowing he’s not going to be on any “rules” later in the year, I think he’ll just relax and pitch.

  • Steve H

    Well it’s better than Hughes in the 7th and Joba in the 8th!!11!!1, but yeah, still doesn’t make much sense.

  • The Three Amigos

    Why can’t we do that, but only with the loser of the Joba/Hughes battle for the 5th slot and Aceves? Same thing.

  • pete

    this is a very very interesting idea, but certainly not one the yankees should deploy at this stage. As NewYankeeDynasty said earlier, let the Pirates try it out. Or maybe in the future when we’ve got a guy with an innings cap of 130 and 5 starters. As it stands now, though, this idea, while feasible, is probably not the best option the yankees have, which renders its workability somewhat moot. Joba is at the point where he should be able to start full-season, so there is no need to juggle him around in the ‘pen like that. If he pitches poorly enough to wind up in the ‘pen (and for some reason the FO doesn’t want to send him to AAA to correct his issues), I highly doubt he’s a useful multi-inning reliever. And Hughes, I believe, should start the season in AAA, and pitch there as a starter either until he approaches his innings cap (at which point I would say give him a week or two off, then revamp him as a reliever for the stretch run or playoffs), or come up to the Majors if a starter goes down. However, if hughes does wind up in the ‘pen, I’d certainly hope that this is the role he goes in as. Hughes pitching a minimum of 2 and max of about 4 innings per somewhat regulated appearance out of the pen would be much more useful than making him the “8th inning guy”. This would probably allow the yankees to keep marte/aceves/robertson perpetually fresh, which would probably entirely negate any need for a specific 8th inning guy, since any of those guys could probably more than cut it. Still, I think starting pitchers should pitch as starters as much as possible. If hughes starts the season in AAA as a starter and only comes up if need presents him with a rotation spot, then, barring injury, he’ll be able to give the yankees a full season of starting next year. When you’ve got CC/AJ/Javy/Andy/Joba this year, but only CC/AJ/Joba guaranteed for next year, that’s got to be considered more important at this point.

    Again, love the idea as far as thinking outside of the box goes, and I do think that there is merit to it. But in the context of the 2010 yankees, it is unnecessary and in all likelihood not the most ideal method of the available options. Not worth trying right now.

    • Lanny

      Paragraphs wouldnt hurt. Take a breath.

    • NDR

      Agree with all of this.

  • Hughesus Christo

    Why can every team BUT the Yankees fold minor leaguers into their starting rotations? They are repeating the EXACT same Joba mistakes with Hughes. It’s mind boggling.

    • pete

      erm…which mistakes exactly? (I’m assuming that any accusation of mistake-making will be backed up by a thorough and indisputably better “what they should have done” plan)

      • Hughesus Christo

        Shuffling guys back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation? Not pushing innings limits up effectively? Not putting people in starting roles long enough to force development of stamina and secondary pitches?

        I had no problem with how they handled Joba last year. I had BIG problems with how Joba was handled in 07 and 08, and they’ve been mishandling Hughes since… forever.

        • pete

          Oh gotcha. Sometimes, though, when a guy is capable of getting major leaguers out, it’s just not really an option to keep him in the minors, unless you’re MLB staff is so stacked that there’s no need for him. I think that’s what happened in ’08. If the yankees had had 5 quality starters outside of Joba and Hughes that year, both would have spent the whole year in AAA, I think. Not saying I disagree – I would have preferred that. But to the yankees it just wasn’t worth it to not have one of your best pitchers be pitching in the majors.

    • gc

      Only the “mistakes” you say they made with Joba weren’t mistakes. He pitched a full season in the major leagues as a starter and remained (as best as we know) healthy. These rules never were meant to *guarantee* competitive success for the pitcher, as in low ERA’s, a bunch of wins and strikeouts and few walks, or whatever way you wish to define competitive success. They were meant to stretch him out, keep him healthy, and gradually work their way up to the point where they no longer needed to restrict him. In that respect, they succeeded. You can debate whether or not he pitched well…I think we all know he was inconsistent…but cannot the same be said about most any other 23 year old starting pitcher?

      Besides, lets imagine they had no rules or restrictions for him at all and they let him throw 200 innings last year. My guess is that he either would have thrown his arm out and been on the DL at least once last year, or that his 2010 season and beyond would be severely jeopardized. The rules may drive some people crazy, but there is enough evidence with other pitchers to show that there is merit to utilizing them. In the end, they took the risk with these rules, and so far, it’s paying off. He’s healthy, he’s now unrestricted, and we get to see what he really is.

      • Hughesus Christo

        Who said throw them for 200 innings?

        They NEED to be starting, whether its in MLB or AAA. You control their innings, of course, but in starting roles. It’s not that difficult.

        • Lanny

          Their agents would flip a shoot if you tried to send them to AAA to get innings.

          Not to mention the team would flip out if one of their best pitchers was in Scranton.

          How do you look Mo in the face and tell him that Hughes is getting innings and Edwar is in?

          • NDR

            Their agents would flip a shoot if you tried to send them to AAA to get innings.

            Why? The agent is smart enough to know that Phil is in the long-term plans of the Yankees. I am sure he would be happy they think of him as a starter and not a setup man. Good starters make much more money than good setup men.

            Not to mention the team would flip out if one of their best pitchers was in Scranton.

            Wrong. The Yankees will still carry 11 or 12 very good pitchers and the players will understand that Phil will be ready to step into the rotation if there is an injury or into the bullpen late in the year for the stretch run/playoffs. You can’t honestly think that sending Phil Hughes to Scranton will hurt the morale of the team.

            How do you look Mo in the face and tell him that Hughes is getting innings and Edwar is in?

            What? Why would this affect Mo in any way. With Phil in the bullpen Mo will pitch awesome. With Phil in Scranton Mo will pitch awesome. Also, Mo will be happy that a starter as good as Phil is ready to step in if CC/Javy/AJ/Andy/Joba gets injured – that means more save opportunities for Mo.

    • Steve H

      Worked pretty well for Johan.

  • Mike P

    This theoretical role already exists in practice: it’s called having Ace up your sleeve.

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    “Pinto (@statsguru) mentions Yankees going with 10 pitchers. Talk with “high level source” said “no bleeping way.” Too bad.”

    • Accent Shallow

      Will Carroll is pretty aggressive in not knowing shit. The big appeal in a 10-man pitching staff is that you can run platoons (which the Yankees don’t need to do), not so you can have a third catcher or a second middle infielder on the bench.

      • Steve H

        Heh. I’m still waiting for his big announcement from the winter meetings.

        • Lanny

          It was Gammons leaving ESPN.

  • Standard_Deviance

    Along the same lines of this idea, but slightly different, I like the idea of using Joba and Hughes as tandem starters for the 5th spot in the rotation. This would have several benefits:

    1) they’re both guaranteed regular innings (30 starts x 4.5 innings per start (on average) = 135 innings
    2) they’d both be “stretched out” enough that should another starter get injured, one of them can immediately step in as the replacement
    2a) when the inevitable need for a 6th starter occurs, both Joba and Hughes will become “normal” starters, pitching deeper into games and helping to increase their innings total past 135
    3) this arrangement would pretty much build in a day of rest for the bullpen once every time through the rotation
    4) BOTH Joba and Hughes would log enough innings to become full-time starters in 2011, which is important considering both Vazquez and Pettite could walk after 2010

  • Connor Mercurio

    If joba and phil pitch that many innings without getting proper rest, they wont be much help come may never mind october

  • A.D.

    This could make some sense if both pitchers had innings limits around 120-140, but they don’t so its unnecessary. Additionally the Yankees do have some pitchers who can be solid in that pen.

    That said I also agree with the thought of using pitchers less often for more innings per time. It takes a lot of time, effort, and strain to warm a pitcher up, but were talking about 20-25 more pitches (including warm-up) max per extra inning pitched. Plus if the pitcher is already pitching well then ride the sure-er thing.

  • pete

    that’s a freakin sweet picture of hughes, by the way

  • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    This may have been mentioned earlier and if so I apologize for being redundant, but the goal is to maximize present success with future success. Obviously it’s not an exact science and there is no precise counterbalance, but employing this technique would hinder the long-term development of both pitchers, as opposed to just one, if in fact the “loser” is sent to the bullpen. Even beyond that, you still may not be getting the most innings out of your best pitchers, which is the best short-term result as well.

    Additionally,there are other logistical issues, questions of “rhythm,” routine, and injury concerns. Others have made these points far more effectively than I have, so I’ll continue with my greater point.

    The most prudent utilization of resources would be to have each pitcher develop secondary pitches and the strategic know-how of working through the lineup multiple times. We know each has the two pitches needed to just blow by batters without much set-up or strategy—batters they face but once in relief roles. Neither will fare very well if they have only two pitches they’re comfortable throwing (particularly when each has the potential to throw 3 plus pitches) and/or they’re not prepared to throw many innings due to their erratic early usage in their career.

    Number of stars indicate more gooder for now and future. Negative stars are Dusty-Baker-Bad-News-Bears BAD.

    *****Joba as 5th starter + Hughes at AAA, ready to fill in when (not if) injury opens a spot
    **Joba in 5th spot + Hughes as a multiple-inning relief role
    *Joba in 5th spot + Hughes as reliever that will build arm to start games when/if injury happens
    -*Joba in 5th spot + Hughes as a bridge to Mo, no starts this year
    -**Joba + Hughes in multiple-inning relief roles
    -*******Joba + Hughes in one-inning set-up roles

    • Accent Shallow

      The problem with throwing Hughes in AAA is that pitchers are people, not automatons. He spend the last four months of the season making MLB hitters look foolish, and you’re gonna start him in AAA? There’ll be some questioning of that decision, from both the fans as well as the players as soon as the Yankees lose a game in the late innings (other than a Mo issue, god forbid).

      I agree that it’s probably best for flexibility, and it’s easy for us to think “suck it up kid, you’ll get your shot”, but doing something like that could sour him on the organization and set a bad precedent for other players, impacting morale.

      (Note: I am not saying it’s guaranteed to be a bad idea, or that there would be an MiLB player revolt.)

      • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        I must disagree with some of that. Yes, he made MLB hitters look foolish as a reliever, throwing mostly his fastball and sometimes his curveball to about four batters per game. That model doesn’t work as a starter when he has to work through the same hitters multiple times in a start, hitters that he’ll likely see a few times a year.

        The best position for him and the team is to develop as starter (better money for him, better production for the team at a good dollar value), and putting him at AAA in 2010 should help him work on those secondary pitches and the process of setting up hitters, which will give him a much better chance of succeeding in 2011 as a full-time no restriction starter. He can’t develop pitches in a relief role and he can’t build his arm up either.

        The benefit of Hughes in AAA and filling in if/when an injury knocks off a starter, and therefore being more able to contribute in 2011 and beyond>>>>having him in the bullpen this year, losing an arb. year and incrementally continuing to halt his development.

        Now, to the psychology of it. I’m not privy to how Hughes or other players in similar positions respond to what some could consider a demotion. I think it may be a stretch to say it could impact morale, but you could easily flip it the other way and say, “We can keep you as a reliever and your lifetime earning potential is about half of what you could make as a starter OR you can refine your pitches and be ready if/when there’s an injury this year and it’s basically a lock you’re in the show as a full-time starter next year. Yeah, you’ll also be making $15 mil. per year or more if you’re pretty good in this role when you hit FA.”

        Again, I really have no idea how they’d respond. You could be totally right, but if they’re that frail, one would be led to believe that would be an indicator of a larger psychological problem.

        • Lanny

          Maybe he doesnt have the stuff to be a starter.

          How many times can he dominate in AAA??

          Its not a challenge for either guy.

  • Chip

    I’d love to see the loser of the Hughes/Joba game end up in this role. It’s a much better idea than having one of them as the 8th inning guy as this way they’d possibly have to go through a rotation twice. Actually, Hughes has some history with this in the playoffs a few years back when he came in in like the second inning or something and dominated.

  • Brett

    Isn’t this what they did with Aceves last year when he came up? He would come in for basically 3 inning stints at a time and was somewhat stretched out to serve as a spot starter. Then Joe started messing with him and he wasn’t as productive

  • Gleb

    Seems to me they should do this

    Have the pitching depth set as


    When it comes down to the #5 spot in the rotation then you start Hughes, use him until either he gets at least 4 innings or if he goes past 4 take him out when he shows signs of tiring. Joba comes in for however many innings we need him to get to Mo. Then alternate next time the #5 spot is needed.

    That sounds like a kick ass plan, why choose between Joba/Hughes for the fifth starter when they are both destined for the rotation.

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Both would still only be working through the lineup around twice (or possibly less), which isn’t great when you want them to be building an understanding of how to set up hitters any times throughout the game.

      I’m not necessarily opposed to caddying, but it also limits roster flexibility. You’ve taken two spots when really there should only be one player to fill that role. I know 25 guys sounds like a lot, but when there are guys struggling in the pen because they’re tired or hurt, flexibility is important. Eating up a roster spot that you use exclusively as a platoon starter (I like the sound of it off the tongue, though) could really exacerbate the situation.

      I think it’s a neat idea, but I’m not sure it’s a wise use of roster space.

  • Steve H

    The Yankees do not need a plan for Joba and Hughes this year. Only Hughes, unless he miraculously he overtakes Joba for the 5th spot. Joba is a starter, and in 2010 he is a starter without “rules”. They need to decide what to do with Hughes, but Joba is set.

  • vin

    I think 99% of us agree that this is a great idea, on paper only.

    My favorite factoid in 2010? Only 1 team in the 2000’s made it through an entire season with only 5 starters. And the average team used 11 starters per season. Figure 3 of those are due to September call-ups and quirks in the schedule; that leaves an average of 8 starters who will need to be called upon.

    Barring injury to one of the two, Hughes AND Joba will almost certainly start games this year.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Unless one of them is so bullpenized that he isn’t eligible to start any more. This happened last season, if you don’t remember.

  • Lanny

    Great in theory. Not great in real world sense.

    Kinda think whatever they did worked last yr since they came home with a title. Why reinvent the wheel?

    • Lanny

      They also didnt go thru this Joba BS to have him be a 3 inning pitcher again.

      They’ve groomed him to start. Would be shocking to see him not start out in the rotation.

  • Mark

    I think this is a great idea, I think it is rediculous to have a pitcher come in for only a single inning, except for Mo of course, These pitchers make far too much money for only one innings worth of work and I think they will only get better from it. First off, niether Hughes or Joba have what it takes to pitch 7 innings they have shown us that, secondly stop babying these overpaid athletes!!!!!

  • thisis ledavidisrael

    With a pretty formatiable bullpen why try this radical idea? How about some AAA for both dudes to increase their long term value to the team. They can get their bodies ready to pitch 8 inning stints.

    I don’t really buy the whole their is nothing to learn on the minor league level. Couldn’t the team have them scrap one of their best pitches on certain days? This would increase intensity because they would be sharpening their 2nd and third pitches.

    Couldn’t they ramp up workouts. Their has to be a way to challenge them further on the farm and delay their arbitration hearings.

  • Bill O

    I’ve been pushing this idea for a while, but it only works with one of them in the bullpen. Doing it with both of them in the bullpen is simply ridiculous. There will be plenty of 2+ inning opportunities for whoever is in the pen. With guys like Robertson, Marte, and Ace we don’t need whoever is in the pen to be available as the 8th inning guy everyday. And keeping them in a multi-inning role keeps them ready to start if need be.

  • mark

    i know that it’s not a direct simulation, but have you tried this on the latest mlb video game? it would have the current yankee roster, right? and you could give it a shot and see how it turns out? it would be a flawed experiment, but it still might be an interesting experiment…

  • Rob S.

    I don’t think this idea is crazy. I just think it’s stupid. Neither of these guys will ever reach there full potential until they settle into regular roles. Setup guys and starters are far more valuable than long relievers. Enough with the experiments.

  • don

    a starter is more important than a relief pither so if he can prove he is a starter or phil then thats more important robinson or meloncon can handle the pen

  • Bryan

    I think that it would be a great idea to have Joba and Hughes in the bullpenn. That is where Joba belongs he is not a long innings pitcher. Another key fact would be a three man bullpenn. You can have Hughes pitch the seventh, followed by Joba in the eight, which then will clear the way for Mo to close it out in the ningth. Those three men are 1-2-3 inning caliber pitchers.