An ESPN.com report Friday said, "Chamberlain is likely to start next season in the Yankees' bullpen as part of the team's effort to limit his innings" if the other five starters are healthy and performing. However, Cashman, Newman, senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner and pitching coach Dave Eiland said Friday that the plan is to have Chamberlain in the rotation.So ESPN is wrong again... Shocking. I'm starting to think they are making things up as they go along. Every twenty minutes during the Winter Meetings ESPN was reporting Johan Santana was going to be traded very soon. It was hours, maybe minutes away. Well it's almost Christmas and he still hasn't been traded. Sadly the reports of Santana's imminent trade are still coming, just less frequently now. ESPN is a joke.
"We plan to have him go into spring training as a starter," Cashman said.
Said Steinbrenner: "At this point, we're all planning to ... it's everybody's plan to start him as a starter, and that's Joba's preference, too. He said it on ESPN. I know he'd do anything and give it his best, but that's his preference. As far as me and Cashman and Newman and [Damon] Oppenheimer, I think we all want him in the rotation."
It's possible that Chamberlain could spend some time in the bullpen to help cap his innings, Newman said. That's not in the early-season plans, though.
"I'm not even saying he's going to be in there at all," Newman said. "I can't say he'll be in there for a day or a minute. He could be at some point to limit the innings, but that's up to Joe [Girardi]."
As for Joba; I like the way the Yankees are going to handle him. Limiting his inning, nobody wants a Francisco Liriano, Mark Prior, etc., situation here.
This is how I would set up Chamberlain's season if I were running the team. From Spring training thru the start of the season Joba would be in the starting rotation. This way if he struggles early as a starter, he can be moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the season. Better this, than starting him in the pen, and then making him a starter, only to have him struggle, and then have to move him back to the pen.
If he is effective as a starter, keep him there till August, and move him to the pen for the stretch run. This would also strengthen their bullpen greatly if they make the post season.