Joel Sherman has a piece this morning on the plan for Joba this season and explains them in detail, which has been confirmed by team officials.
Here's a rundown:
- Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy would stay healthy to form the rotation. All five would be needed from the outset because the Yanks have just two scheduled off-days from March 31 through May 4.
- Chamberlain stabilizes the area the Yankees profess offers their greatest uncertainty in 2008: Their setup crew in front of Mariano Rivera. The Yanks envision Chamberlain dominating in the eighth based on his 0.38 ERA and .145 batting average against in 19 regular-season games as a reliever last year.
- The Yanks see the Chamberlain/Rivera tandem helping them be a dominant late-inning team over the first two months of the season. At some point in June, the Yanks would send Chamberlain to the minors for 3-4 weeks to stretch him out to 5-6 innings in preparation to be a full-time starter in the second half.
- The Yanks hope is that over the first two months other relievers show enough fortitude/reliability to be moved into the eighth inning. Only Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins are guaranteed jobs. The Yanks think Girardi, who was a Cub teammate of Farnsworth for three years, might help the talented righty find greater consistency and grab the eighth inning.
This is essentially how we expected these rules to shake out and I certainly hope they stick to the plan. Of course, sh*t happens and things could change if the Yankees are hit with the injury bug as they were last season or unnamed members of the pitching staff contract a bad case of the suck.
The first few months of the season should give the young arms like Ohlendorf, Veras, Albaladejo, and others a chance to secure slots in the late innings along with a host of others likely to make appearances in the 2nd half (Melancon, Sanchez, Horne, Marquez, McCutchen, etc.) once Chamberlain is moved back to the rotation.
What do you think? Does this plan make sense to you?